Page last updated at 00:00 GMT, Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Cumbria on fresh flood alert as heavy rain returns

Debris lies outside a house next to the river Cocker in Cockermouth town centre following the recent floods
Residents have been allowed back to assess the damage

Heavy rain has returned to Cumbria, days after record-breaking rainfall swept away bridges and flooded homes.

Up to 100mm (3.9in) of rain is forecast over high ground. Across the UK, 25 flood warnings remain in place.

Many roads, bridges and schools were shut in Cumbria, but a new station will be built to help people use the surviving rail bridge in Workington.

Meanwhile, a 21-year-old woman who went missing on Saturday was found dead in the swollen River Usk in Powys.

An 85-year-old woman's body was discovered in the flooded River Severn at Newtown, also in Powys, but police said that incident was probably not flood-related.

These pressures actually affect people's health, not just psychologically but physically as well
Dr John Howarth
Cockermouth GP

Matt Crump of the Environment Agency said it was difficult to predict where any new flooding would occur in Cumbria.

"The rivers and the lakes are extremely full," he said. "We do have some concerns there will be a certain amount of flooding beyond what we had last week."

But river levels are not expected to be as high as Thursday, when a record amount of rainfall for a 24-hour period fell in Cumbria.

The public has been warned to stay away from flood water and rivers and to follow local advice on road diversions.

There are 11 flood warnings in north-west England, four in Wales, six in Scotland and two each in the Midlands and north-east England.

BBC weather
36-hour forecast

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Forecast published at 0930 GMT, 24 November 2009

Police in Scotland have appealed to drivers in the south of the country to make only essential journeys.

The Met Office said Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders region could see up to 75mm (3in) of rainfall during the day.

Network Rail has brought in divers to inspect a flooded railway line near Llanrwst in Conwy Valley, north Wales.

Arriva Trains Wales is running a replacement bus service on the route between Llandudno Junction and Blaenau Ffestiniog.

In Cumbria, there are long diversion routes in place in Workington and other towns.

The closure of Calva Bridge in Workington, which has been condemned to demolition, means people face a lengthy detour to get to the other side of the town.

If the bridge collapses, the local authority has said some 11,000 homes north of the river will lose their telephone connections.

The rail bridge remains intact and Network Rail has said it will build a temporary station on the north side of the River Derwent.

Mitchell family
By Tom Symonds, BBC News

It was the first day back at school after the floods for Jenson, Chance and Tyler Mitchell. They live in Workington's Northside - the north side of the river that is - which given the lack of bridges, means it is cut off from the town that local people are used to having on their doorstep.

Maria Mitchell's plan is to drive her children in the opposite direction to the station at Flimby and catch the train. After all, the railway bridge into Workington remains intact.

But the drive, the wait for the train, the journey itself and then the walk to school takes an hour. And if Maria wants to go home while the kids are at school she'll have to do the trip four times a day. The train itself is standing room only.

"I'll be crying by Friday because I can't do this. I'll have to home-school my kids or put them in another school. We need something done about it," says Maria

It will be built on waste land about 800m (0.5 miles) from the existing station, reconnecting the two halves of the town which have been cut off following flood damage to footbridges and road bridges in the area.

The two-platform station, linked by a footbridge, should be ready by the weekend.

Bus operator Stagecoach will provide 10 vehicles to take up to 350 children from Seaton, Flimby and Maryport to school in Workington on Wednesday.

A total of six bridges have collapsed in the county and a safety review of all 1,800 crossings is under way.

Flood support centres remain open in Cockermouth, Workington and Keswick, offering advice on housing, insurance and other issues.

Flooding in Cockermouth

Conservative leader David Cameron has visited Cockermouth where he met residents affected by the floods and spoke to fire crews involved in the rescue effort.

He said: "Everyone's got to make sure that when the waters recede and when the television cameras go home that people in Cumbria aren't forgotten and that we give real help and real money with so many of the issues that need to be dealt with."

In the Commons, Health Secretary Andy Burnham praised the work of NHS staff and pledged the government would provide any extra resources needed.

Hundreds of residents have now returned to their properties to begin a huge clean-up operation.

Cumbria Police casualty bureau: 0800 0560944 or 0207 1580010
Floodline number 0845 988 1188
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Dr John Howarth, a GP in Cockermouth, said the community was under a great amount of stress and needed plenty of support to help people avoid illnesses such as depression.

"This is one of the big issues that we're going to face over the next few days, when people gradually come to terms with the stark reality of losing their homes," he said.

"These pressures actually affect people's health, not just psychologically but physically as well."

People have also been warned to exercise caution when hiring workers to help with repairs and to check their credentials.

Cumbria bridges map
Collapsed Bridges: 1. Northside Bridge, Workington 2. Navvies Footbridge, Workington 3. Camerton Footbridge, Camerton 4. Memorial Gardens footbridge, Cockermouth 5. Low Lorton Bridge 6. Little Braithwaite Bridge 7. Camerton Church Bridge, Camerton
Closed bridges: 8. Calva Bridge, Workington 9. Goat Bridge, Cockermouth 10.Holmrook Bridge, Holmrook 11. Ouse Bridge, north of Dubwath 12. Isel Bridge, near Cockermouth 13. Cocker Bridge, Cockermouth 14. Southwaite Bridge 15. Broughton Bridge 16. Bridge End, Egremont 17. Spark Bridge 18. Backbarrow Bridge (off A590) 19. Bouthrey Bridge, Water Yeat 20. Station Road Bridge, Keswick 21. Scarness Bridge, Keswick 22. Scale Hill Bridge, Scale Hill 23. Greta Bridge, Keswick 24. Wath Bridge, Cleator Moor
Source: Cumbria County Council, 24 November

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