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Friday, 21 November 2014

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Storms batter Cumbria wreaking havoc

Cumbria police dealt with scores of weather-related incidents as the county was battered by strong winds.

Road closed sign photo
Police have closed Barncroft Avenue, Seaton, after a roof blew off a house

Strong winds ripped part of the roof off a former motel, blocking a main road in west Cumbria.

The A595 was closed in both directions near the old Moota Motel, between Cockermouth and Bothel, after a large section of the roof was blown off and onto the road. It has since reopened.

The roof is believed to have damaged a number of parked cars but no one was injured.

Two vehicles were subsequently involved in a collision at the scene, but there was no damage.

West Cumbria appears to have been the worst affected area, with Carlisle and the Eden valley escaping the worst of the storm damage.

In Barncroft Avenue, Seaton, the board and felt roof was blown off a house. The entire roof landed across the road, over the pavement and a front garden wall. No one was injured.

Strong winds - gusts of up to 84mph were reported at Great Dun Fell - caused havoc on the M6, and Cumbria police imposed a blanket 50mph speed limit between junction 35 and junction 40. 

An earlier incident on the southbound carriageway, between J40 Penrith and J39 Shap, was quickly cleared and that section fully reopened.

However, elsewhere on the M6 an overturned lorry forced police to close the southbound carriageway between junction 38 for Tebay and junction 37 for Kendal.

It remains passable this morning (Thursday) via the hard shoulder and lane one. Its male driver was taken to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary with minor injuries. The road will temporarily be closed later today as recovery work is completed.

Motorists trying to avoid the M6 were last night advised that the A685 was blocked towards Kendal by a falling tree. They also advised high-sided vehicles to avoid the A6.

Fallen trees were yesterday (Thursday) still blocking Church Street and Whitehaven Road, both Frizington.

A tree also came down on Inkerman Terrace in Whitehaven. That road reopened at about 2am. The A6, between the Jackson's Lane junction in Shap and Priestclose Lane junction in Hackthorpe, has also reopened after a fallen tree was removed this morning (Thursday).

Copeland Pool in Whitehaven is closed today (Thursday) due to the winds. The extent of any damage is not known

At its peak, Electricity Northwest confirmed it had 2,500 customers without power across Cumbria, the majority in the west of the county. This morning, more than 1,200 across Cumbria and Lancashire - mainly along the west coast - were without electricity at 5am but that number has reduced throughout the day and at around 1pm about 150 still had no power.

The worst affected areas were Workington and Seaton, but other areas without electricity included the Monkwray area of Whitehaven, Blindcrake, Hayton, near Aspatria, Langrigg, Wigton, the top end of Waberthwaite and an area near Penrith.

At shortly after 10.10pm power cuts also hit areas of Carlisle. Currently areas of Houghton, Kingstown and Stanwix are without electricity.

A spokeswoman for the utility company said engineers are trying to restore power to as many homes as they can as soon as possible, but said the changing weather conditions were hindering progress.

Residents reported that power was restored gradually across the area, with properties in Greystoke, Allonby, Maryport and Crosby among the first to be reinstated.

Remote, rural villages are expected to be among the last to regain power.

This afternoon it tweeted:

The Environment Agency issued a series of flood alerts for Cumbria. They covered part of the coast, the lower River Eden, from Crosby-on-Eden to Rockcliffe and the upper River Derwent, from Seathwaite to Derwent Water.

The rivers - where alerts were still in place this morning - were predicted to rise following heavy rainfall.

The coastline from Millom to Gretna was also potentially at risk. Strong winds were expected to create a significant surge in the Irish Sea around the 12am-12.30am high tides, said the agency.

  • More heavy rain and gale force winds are forecast to sweep across Cumbria later this week.

The Met Office is warning the new weather front will cross the county from Friday afternoon into the early hours of Saturday morning.

It says it could lead to some localised flooding and people should prepare for potential disruption.

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