Cumbria weather: Flood alerts, bridges closed, roads chaos and rain warning

Flooding on roads and in villages around Aspatria (Wednesday)
Flooding on roads and in villages around Aspatria (Wednesday)

Cumbria is bracing itself for yet more rain as a Met Office weather warning comes into force - and 70mph gusts could also be on the way.

Meanwhile a key route in the west of the county is back open after the closure of a bridge on the A595 at Holmrook, between Gosforth and Ravenglass, was lifted this afternoon.

Cumbria County Council has confirmed on its Twitter accounts that Holmrook Bridge is back open.

The Met Office put in place a yellow warning for rain from 3am today and says that heavy downpours could strike the county until 10am tomorrow.

Following Wednesday's heavy rain many parts of the county are still recovering from flooding and sodden ground.

A Met Office spokesman said: "A band of rain is expected across northern England through Friday.

"Rain is expected to be heavy and persistent at times, especially across Cumbria.

"Through the course of the day rainfall totals of 30 to 50mm are expected quite widely with as much as 70 to 80mm over exposed hills.

"Whilst these totals are not unusual for the time of year after recent heavy rain these totals may lead to some impacts."

Several bridges are said to still be closed off because of adverse weather conditions over the last few days.

They are: Kersey Bridge near St Bees and Egremont Bridge.

The closures are causing chaos for motorists in west Cumbria.

Traffic heading towards Sellafield along the A595 faced 10-mile tailbacks, reaching as far back at The Highlands in Whitehaven.

Cars are unable to use the B5345 towards Beckermet as the Kersey Bridge is still closed, so all traffic is forced to use the main road.

Workers from the nuclear plant faced journeys of more than two hours to get home last night as traffic was brought to a standstill.

Motorists heading from the south direction also faced chaos as Holmrook Bridge was closed, with all traffic diverted through the narrow Santon Bridge route.

Ten flood alerts - the lowest level - have been put in place for Cumbria today.

They are for: rivers Brathay, Rothay and Winster, rivers Cocker, Marron and Derwent, rivers Duddon, Crake and Mill Beck, rivers Ehen, Calder, Irt and Esk, rivers Esk and Irthing, rivers Greta, St Johns Beck and Bassenthwaite Lake, rivers Kent and Bela, rivers Lowther and Eamont, rivers Wampool and Ellen Upper, river Derwent, Stonethwaite Beck and Derwent Water.

A flood warning - the second highest level - is in force for Keswick Campsite.

Cumbria County Council is urging drivers not to go through flooded roads.

"If you can’t see the road, don’t try to drive through it" is the the advice the authority is issuing to motorists.

It comes after the county suffered a deluge on Wednesday.

Flooding can sometimes lead to water surging up through the drains, dislodging manhole covers and leaving drains uncovered.

“If someone attempts to drive or walk through flood water on the road, they risk serious injury and/or damage to their vehicle because these uncovered drains aren’t visible below the water,” said a county council spokesperson.

“We would urge people not to consider driving through floodwater.

"Instead find an alternative route or wait until the water has receded and it becomes safe to drive. Walking or driving in flood water puts your safety at unnecessary risk, and if you do get into difficulties it is also creates a risk for emergency services.”

Anyone who becomes aware of flood water on roads is asked to report it immediately to the county council.

Go online at or by calling the Highways Hotline on 0300 303 2992.

Conditions are expected to calm over the weekend but Cumbria is being told to brace itself for the bad weather to return on Monday and Tuesday as the county feels the effects of Hurricane Ophelia.

It is making its way across the Atlantic and could bring gusts of between 70 to 80mph in some parts of the country.

It has prompted the Met Office to issue a yellow warning for wind. It is in force from 8am Monday until 6pm Tuesday.

A Met Office spokesman said: "Very strong winds are forecast to affect western parts of the UK during Monday.

"Southerly winds are most likely to gust between 55 and 65 mph across much of the warning area with the potential for gusts of 80 mph in coastal areas, particularly in Northern Ireland.

"These strong winds are forecast in association with the northward track of ex-Ophelia across or near to the west of the British Isles.

"Heavy rain is also possible in association with this system with northwestern UK most prone at this stage."

Monday's unsettled weather could cause delays to transport services.

Forecasters say there is a "slight chance" that power cuts and mobile phone coverage could be affected too.

Coastal areas may also be lashed by large waves and spray.

It will coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Great Storm of 1987, which hit southern England overnight on October 15.

The storm caused damage estimated at £1 billion and claimed 18 lives.

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