CUMBRIA is bracing for a second storm in two weeks – with many fearing the worst.

Last weekend, Storm Ciara brought widespread flooding, panic and fear as heavy rain battered north and east Cumbria.

Worst affected by the storm were homes and businesses in the Eden Valley, with many forced out of their homes and thousands left without a water supply.

Residents are fearing more of the same this weekend, as the Met Office has issued an amber weather warning – the second highest level of warning available – for rain for Saturday and Sunday.

Parts of Penrith, Kirkby Stephen and Sedbergh are expected to be affected.

The forecaster is predicting that homes and businesses will be flooded; fast-flowing or deep floodwater is likely, causing danger to life; delays to trains and bus services is likely; some communities could be cut off by flooded roads; spray and flooding probably leading to difficult driving conditions and power cuts and loss of other services to homes and businesses is likely.

The Met Office has also issued a yellow warning – a lower level of warning – which is expected to bring strong winds to the whole of Cumbria. It will be in place from 10am today until 12pm tomorrow.

“We expect it could be as bad as last week, which was pretty close to Storm Desmond,” said Gareth Hayes, who is part of the management committee of Appleby Emergency Response Group.

“We expect properties to be flooded. It would be nice if it didn’t happen, but we know we have to have somebody on every corner of the town.

“We are now informed from the flood last week. We met on Thursday night, looking at what we learned and what can be improved for this weekend.

“We are making sure volunteers have rested so they are ready to go on Saturday and Sunday.”

Mr Hayes said the group would hand over the reins of the response to the emergency services if necessary.

“We have the responsibility to stand down and let the key services take over if the water gets into houses. Anxiety levels are high.”

Appleby town councillor Andy Connell commented: “We are ready and waiting and will carry out some of the exercises we did last week on the Saturday.

“We are hoping it is not as bad but we are prepared to do what needs to be done.

“Emergency services, such as fire, police and the Environment Agency, will be up to scratch. Everybody is on alert to deal with whatever happens.”

Also preparing for the potential for flooding was chairman of Shap Parish Council Jean Jackson. “We are trying to put things in place all you can do is try and accept the offers of sandbags. It has come so quickly off the back of the other storm, there isn’t much you can do,” said Coun. Jackson.

“We are concerned, it will be a huge relief when the weekend goes by.”

The councillor fears the effects of Storm Dennis will be exacerbated by the hangover of Storm Ciara.

“You will find if you look around there is still water there from last Sunday. That would take a long time to go away if it wasn’t going to rain. It would take a couple of weeks to create space for another storm.

“That is what is a worry. We have a pump here but where do we pump the water to? I don’t think sandbags are the perfect solution, but they will help.”

Coun. Jackson hopes community spirit continues in the village.

“You do find in Shap that everybody comes to the fore to help. We do find it difficult to keep the water from coming in. If it reaches the levels it did last time, we are very concerned.”