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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 January, 2005, 21:47 GMT
Three dead, two missing in floods
Elderly woman being carried by rescue workers in Carlisle
Thousands of people in Carlisle have been moved from their homes
Three people have died and two are missing after storms flooded homes and cut off power to thousands in northern England and elsewhere.

A 63-year-old man was crushed after a barn collapsed on his caravan in Cumbria, and two elderly women died in flooded properties in Carlisle.

In West Yorkshire and Morayshire two people have gone missing.

Flood levels in Carlisle, the worst-hit area in the UK, have receded, but forecasters warn of more rain to come.

'Water receding'

Thousands in Carlisle were moved from their homes overnight, spending the night in emergency accommodation.

We're still all in complete shock really... we've been told we could be here for four or five days
Rescued resident Peter Graham

Police warned those who have been evacuated not to return and urged everyone in the affected areas to leave their homes.

They also said people should avoid contact with contaminated water and urged children not to paddle in flooded areas because of the risk of gastro-enteritis and Hepatitis A.

Chief Constable of Cumbria, Michael Baxter, said he was "encouraged" that the water had begun to recede but warned that Carlisle would be in "a state of emergency" for "at least three or four days".

"The recovery operation is coming together but people's lives are going to be disrupted for quite some time as a result of this," he told BBC News.

The emergency planning officer for Cumbria, Donald Norrie, said thoughts were now turning to the clean-up operation.

"There's an awful lot of clearing up to do. There is simply the routines in life to get back into place such as schooling, where schools have been damaged," he said.

"There is a multitude of tasks in getting communities back on their feet and it potentially is quite a long haul."

All of Carlisle's 65 buses have been damaged by water, and the police and fire stations were both flooded.

Schools in the city, as well as in neighbouring Wigton and Dalston, will be closed on Monday.

All planned operations due to take place in Carlisle's hospitals over the next 48 hours have been cancelled - only emergency operations will go ahead.

'Shock'

Major Mel Robinson, from the Salvation Army, is coordinating the evacuation operation at North Cumbria Technology College, where scores of people are being looked after.

He said: "Some of them have lost everything but I think because everyone's seen the tsunami on the television they realise that compared to those people their problems are not so bad."

Peter Graham, 66, had to leave his home in Carlisle on Saturday afternoon.

RAF sea rescue helicopter carrying someone to safety
RAF sea rescue helicopters were called in to winch people to safety

"We're still all in complete shock really. We couldn't believe what was happening. Last night everyone slept on mattresses on the floor. We've been told we could be here for four or five days," he said.

On Sunday night, thousands of homes in the area remained without power after Carlisle's electricity sub-station flooded.

Earlier, Environment Minister Elliot Morley visited the city, where the cost of the flood damage could run into tens of millions of pounds.

He said plans for a 20m flood scheme for the city had been drawn up before Saturday's severe weather conditions started and were in the process of being finalised.

Search and rescue

Further bad weather on Sunday impeded the search for a man in the River Aire in Bradford.

MAJOR ROADS CLOSED
London Road only safe route in or out of Carlisle, say police
A69 closed at Warwick Bridge, east of Carlisle
A684 North Yorkshire closed both ways between North Allerton and Wensley
A8 Renfrewshire closed both ways between Renfrew and Inchinnan
A752 North Lanarkshire closed both ways between Townhead Road and Bargeddie Village
A84 Stirlingshire closed both ways between Doune and Callandar

And in Scotland, the search for 42-year-old Andrew MacDonald, from Forres, who police believe may have been swept away in the River Findhorn on Saturday morning, will resume on Monday morning.

BBC forecaster Everton Fox said early on Sunday that up to 40mm of rain was due to fall in Carlisle in the 24-36 hours into Monday.

Strong winds would continue in north Wales and elsewhere in northern England and would also affect Northern Ireland, with gusts of up to 70-80 mph expected, he said.

Gusting winds

More than 30 flood warnings are in place in England, Scotland and Wales, together with an additional 47 flood watches.

There are two severe flood warnings of imminent danger to life and property - for the River Eden, Carlisle, and the River Caldew, in nearby Denton Holme.

Motorists in affected areas are being advised not to make journeys unless absolutely necessary, and farmers are being told to move livestock to higher ground.

Gusts of winds reached speeds of 90 mph, overturning lorries, causing travel chaos and leaving hundreds of thousands of people across Britain without power.

About 4,000 homes in Northern Ireland remained without power on Sunday as Northern Ireland Electricity warned continued severe weather was hampering work to restore power.

In Denmark and Sweden at least seven people died when hurricane-strength winds hit.

Ring Floodline on 0845 988 1188 for up-to-date flooding information.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
How the rescue operation is unfolding




SEE ALSO:
Stricken ferry refloated by tugs
09 Jan 05 |  Northern Ireland
Search resumes for man in river
09 Jan 05 |  Bradford
Search for man is scaled down
09 Jan 05 |  Scotland
Homes still without power
09 Jan 05 |  Northern Ireland
In pictures: Storm sweeps UK
08 Jan 05 |  In Pictures


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