Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team's flooded base. Photo: Patterdale MRT

Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team's flooded base. Photo: Patterdale MRT

Mountain rescue teams from across the North of England and beyond have converged on Cumbria to help in the response to some of the worst flooding seen for a decade.

Cockermouth, Kendal, Keswick and Appleby have all flooded and a major incident has been declared by police and emergency services.

Patterdale and Glenridding were also hit hard after torrential rain accompanied by storm force winds lashed the Lake District mountains. Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team’s base was flooded.

The Scottish Borders have also been severely affected, with mountain rescue teams there helping evacuate residents from areas at risk.

In England, the Environment Agency issued 42 red alerts for severe flooding, indicating where there was a danger to life. Most of these were in the Lake District and Eden Valley, but the severe flood warnings also extended to Corbridge in Northumberland where the River Tyne was at a 10-year high. An advance severe flood warning has also been issued for Carlisle tomorrow.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency also issued severe flood warnings for Hawick and Newcastleton.

Among mountain rescue teams which have sent volunteers, including swiftwater-trained technicians, to aid Cumbrian colleagues are Kinder, Derby, Edale and Bowland Pennine, whose Christmas dinner this evening is now sparsely attended due to many of its members having left for Cumbria.

Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team in West Yorkshire has also sent members as have North East Wales Search and Rescue and the Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation in north Wales.

Tweed Valley and Moffat Mountain Rescue Teams and Border Search and Rescue Unit have been helping get residents in Moffat and Hawick and in the Lake District, the village of Braithwaite near Keswick has been cut off after a bridge collapsed.

Keswick’s new flood defences have failed, with water from the River Greta spilling over the top of the walls.

Cumbria Constabulary said: “Many of Cumbria’s roads are blocked or impassable due to flooding and widespread surface water.

“In particular roads around Keswick and Kendal are blocked and we advise people not to travel in or out of those areas.

“Cumbria Police would urge the public to respect road-closed signs and drive with caution on all roads and we are urging people not to walk or drive through any flood water of which they cannot judge the depth.”

Chair of the strategic coordinating group, Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Andy Towler said: “Due to the current weather conditions being experienced across Cumbria, the emergency services are experiencing a high number of flooding-related calls. These include a number of rescues of people from vehicles stuck in flood water.

“Apart from the obvious risk to members of the public, the abandoned vehicles are then causing considerable problems for emergency services when travelling around the county.”

Police said people in parts of Appleby and Keswick have been evacuated from their homes and other residents have been advised to consider self-evacuating to stay with family or friends, or to visit their local reception centre for advice and shelter.

“If you decide to self-evacuate, please inform your family and friends where you are going, and that you are safe, to avoid concerned relatives contacting emergency services,” the spokesperson said.

The main A82 road between Spean Bridge in Lochaber and Invergarry has reopened after Storm Desmond caused a huge landslide.

Keswick Mountain Rescue Team yesterday warned walkers to think hard before venturing on to the Lake District mountains following the rescue of a lone walker from Great End, which involved crossing mountain becks in spate and flooded roads in Borrowdale.

A Met Office red warning, the highest level, remains in force for the Lake District until 6am on Sunday. The organisation’s chief forecaster said: “A slow-moving frontal system is bringing a prolonged spell of heavy rain and strong winds.

“For the rest of Saturday and the early hours of Sunday further rainfall totals in excess of 150mm are expected locally over some prone mountainous areas in Cumbria while parts of the Borders can locally expect in excess of 60mm rain.

“Given saturated conditions and high river levels from recent rainfall, further flooding is expected.”

Gusts of wind of 100mph are also forecast for the Cumbrian fells with a severe windchill.

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