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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 October 2005, 14:17 GMT 15:17 UK
Flooding chaos after heavy rains
Submerged cars on flooded street in Cumbria
The UK is expected to face more frequent flooding

Torrential rain has caused chaos in parts of northern and western Britain.

South-west Scotland, west Wales and Cumbria were the worst-hit areas with a string of flood warnings put in place.

The prolonged downpours hit hundreds of homes, and closed roads and the West Coast Main Line rail service between Glasgow and Carlisle.

The flooding came on the same day the Environment Agency warned that two-fifths of householders were unaware they lived in flood risk areas.

In Tuesday night's downpour, the Scottish Borders appeared to have suffered most heavily with up to a month's worth of rain falling in Eskdalemuir in just 24 hours.

Rising waters

The Environment Agency said it demonstrated people living in the UK could "not afford to be complacent about flooding".

"There's a tendency for people to think 'it'll never happen to me'," chief executive Baroness Young said.

The agency is advising people to find out if they live in a flood risk area and make sure they are covered by their insurance.

There's cars floating about on the High Street
Hawick resident

This week's rain in the north is forecast to move south-westwards during Wednesday.

Virgin Trains said extensive flooding had caused the closure of the west coast main line north of Carlisle and flooded roads meant it could not put on a replacement bus service.

Passengers are advised to switch to GNER services on the east coast line which is unaffected.

However, Virgin said it expected the west coast main line to reopen at 1700 BST.

In Scotland there are 16 flood warnings in place.

Rescues

Parts of Hawick, in the Borders, are under four feet of water.

Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service said they were inundated with reports of flooding in the town.

A spokeswoman said: "Several elderly people were rescued after they were trapped in the upper floors of their addresses."

Businessman David Blair told BBC News the showroom of his home improvement showroom was "devastated".

"There's cars floating about on the High Street. There's a car actually through one of the windows of the local shops.

"Really, there's disbelief at the state of the town itself."

'Pumped out'

Meanwhile large parts of Wales struggled to cope with the downpours.

Hundreds of homes were affected and emergency services battled against the rising waters after towns and villages in north and west Wales saw up to a month's rain in 24 hours.

Fire control in west Wales received 120 separate reports of flooding in Pembrokeshire alone and many roads across the county were either closed or impassable.

In Haverfordwest floodwater rose up to one-and-a-half feet in parts of the town centre.

Carlisle hit

North Wales also suffered flooding across a large area.

The A487 closed between Llanwnda and Groeslon and firefighters issued sandbags to residents.

Severe floods also hit some parts of Cumbria, including Carlisle which was devastated by heavy rains 10 months ago.

Rescue from flooded house in Cumbria
The Environment Agency is advising people to check their insurance

A spokesman for Cumbria Police said: "The flooding has been county-wide and has stretched our resources to the limit but the rains appear to be easing.

"There was flooding in Carlisle but it was mainly surface water and in different areas of the city that were badly hit earlier this year.

"The county council and the various district councils have been quick to act in getting sandbags to affected areas."

Flood warnings remain in place on the River Cocker at Cockermouth, the River Ehen at Egremont, the River Greta at Keswick and the River Calder at Denton Holme, near Carlisle.





SEE ALSO:
Flooded county under water again
12 Oct 05 |  Cumbria
Heavy rain causes flooding misery
12 Oct 05 |  Scotland


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