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Page last updated at 12:27 GMT, Monday, 7 December 2009
Cumbrian Floods 2009

Women walking through debris

The effects of the recent severe weather will be felt across Cumbria for many months to come.

Record rainfalls were recorded in the county as the rivers, streams and becks spilled into homes and businesses.

Emergency relief centres catered for hundreds of displaced people.

Cockermouth and Keswick were worst affected, but many other communities across Cumbria felt the impact of the deluge.

Using satellite technology many media organisations were able to broadcast around the clock even when the local infrastructure had failed.

Digital cameras and mobile telephones were also used to tell the story to a global audience within minutes.

This is how the story developed day by day ...

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

A flooded Appleby-in-Westmorland.
A flooded Appleby-in-Westmorland

Cumbria is warned of more heavy rain to come during the afternoon.

The Environment Agency says the areas most at risk of flooding are around Keswick, Appleby and parts of Carlisle.

By lunchtime water spills over from the River Eden in Appleby causing flooding in The Sands area of the town.

Most of the county is under the lowest level of alert, a flood watch.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Cumbria is hit by severe flooding

Dozens of people are forced to leave their homes as Cumbria battles severe weather conditions, with 200mm (8in) of rain predicted for some areas.

There are now six severe flood warnings in force in Cumbria.

That means serious problems in Cockermouth, Keswick, two places along the River Kent near Burneside, the River Cocker at Southwaite Bridge, and along the River Eamont near Penrith.

Friday, 20 November 2009
Roof of submerged car visible at Cockermouth. Picture Paul Brigham
Roof of submerged car visible at Cockermouth.

Hundreds of people have been affected after water levels in the town of Cockermouth reached 8.2ft, (2.5m).

About 200 people are rescued by emergency services in the town.

The Environment Agency describes the scale of the flooding as "unprecedented" and the Met Office says rainfall in some parts of the county had been some of the heaviest on record.

Missing officer

A police officer is swept away after a flood-damaged bridge collapses.

The father-of-four was directing motorists off the bridge when the force of the water caused the collapse.

Pc Barker
Pc Barker had been with the Cumbria force for 25 years


The wife of Pc Bill Barker, who died when a bridge collapsed in floods in Cumbria, says she is comforted by knowing he was trying to help others.

Tributes are paid by fellow officers and senior politicians, including Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Tracing the floods in Cockermouth

More than 500 people in Cumbria have to spend the night with relatives and friends or in emergency shelters after the floods.

Relief centres at Cockermouth School and the Sheep and Wool Centre in the town are accommodating about 75 people.

The Prime Minister Gordon Brown meets flood victims in Cumbria and commits government money to help rebuild communities.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Nearly 70 people have to spend another night in reception centres in Cockermouth.

Almost 24,000 people pay tribute to Pc Bill Barker on the social networking site Facebook.


Collapsed road bridge on the A597
Collapsed road bridge on the A597 across the River Derwent in Workington

A safety review of all 1,800 bridges in Cumbria is carried out because the severe flooding has caused extensive damage to many of them.

An experienced lifeboat man speaks of his shock at the ferocity of the flood waters in Cumbria which saw a town's main street turn into a river.

More than £140,000 is pledged to a fund set up to help victims of the floods in Cumbria.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Thousands of people in flood-stricken communities start the working week amid widespread disruption.

'It's all got to be gutted'

Sixteen bridges and at least 25 roads are closed in Cumbria and once-short commutes now involve lengthy detours.

Five secondary schools and 13 primary schools in the county are shut, with many homes and businesses still cut off.

Some 900 home and shop owners in Cockermouth are allowed to return to their homes and premises by police.

People returning to flood-hit homes and businesses in Cumbria speak of scenes of devastation, as further heavy rain is predicted in the area.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Network Rail plans to construct a temporary train station in Workington to help restore some links over the River Derwent.

Lucky escape

The flooding in Cumbria has also affected many of its historical attractions.

Wordsworth house, Cockermouth
Damage to Wordsworth house in Cockermouth

In Cockermouth, it's revealed that Wordsworth House has had a lucky escape after its volunteers managed to lift many of the historical artefacts to dry floors.

But the grounds did not fare as well, with the oak gates ripped off and walls and terraces demolished.

The National Trust has also experienced flood damage at other properties that it owns throughout the county.

Flood waters have also caused damage to historical documents elsewhere in the county.

Hundreds of Victorian glass photographic negatives suffered damaged when water got into a storeroom at Ambleside museum.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Cumbria escapes fresh flooding as some river levels start to fall, but 13 warnings are in place across the county.

The Environment Agency says the amount of rain that fell on Cumbria overnight was less than expected.

People involved in essential flood recovery work are asked to attend a special vaccination session in Cockermouth.

They're to be vaccinated against seasonal flu, swine flu and pneumococcal infections such as meningitis and pneumonia.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

One week after the rivers started to rise many streets around the county are now filled with skips.

skip in Keswick
Skips line the Main street in Cockermouth

Northern Rail says it's putting on extra services to cope with the number of people who want to use the railway to cross the River Derwent.


The daughter of Pc Bill Barker has written a poignant letter of thanks for the support her family has received.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Hundreds of people attend the funeral of Pc Bill Barker who died while helping others during last week's floods.

Pc Barker had gone to the aid of a motorist on Northside Bridge in Workington when it collapsed.

Royal visit

The Prince of Wales praises the "community spirit" of flood-hit Cumbria during a visit to the county.

In Workington, Prince Charles views the extent of the damage to the town which was cut in half when floods destroyed or damaged its bridges.

He also meets construction workers building a temporary train station to provide links to residents forced to make long detours.

He then goes to Keswick where he switches on the Christmas lights.


A temporary footbridge spanning the River Derwent in Workington is to be built by the army.

Royal Engineers from Tidworth in Wiltshire will build the bridge reconnecting the north and south sides of the flood-hit town.

New railway station

Building a train station in days

Work continues on the temporary railway station on the north side of the River Derwent in Workington.

The new platforms are constructed from scaffolding and wooden boards with a non-slip surface.

The station will be a vital link between the northern and southern sides of the town after two bridges collapsed and the remaining one became unstable in the floods.

Monday, 30 November 2009

A temporary railway station opens in Workington to help reconnect the two sides of the flood-hit Cumbrian town.

Train arrives at Workington North
The first train on the service, which will run for at least six months

A free hourly service from the new station - Workington North - takes passengers to the existing station on the south side of the River Derwent.

The new station has been built in six days by Network Rail and has two platforms, a portable waiting room, a gravel car park and a footbridge.

The free service runs as far north as Maryport, a few miles along the coast.

It is designed to help residents on the north side who face long detours to reach the town centre or local schools and supermarkets.

Monday, 7 December 2009

A temporary footbridge, built by the Army, re-unites the Cumbrian town of Workington which was split in half by floodwaters.

Workington's new Barker Crossing, built by the Army, is named after Pc Bill Barker who died when Northside Bridge collapsed as he tried to clear traffic.

Workington's new footbridge opens

Schoolchildren are the first to cross the temporary bridge.

The work has been co-ordinated by the Army, with help from the Royal Engineers, Royal Logistic Corps, Royal Signals and the Royal Military Police.

The future

Although the flood waters may have drained away, it's warned that the legacy of physical and mental damage could last for months.

Streets lined with skips
Streets lined with skips

For the people of Cockermouth, realisation is beginning to sink in of the sheer amount of effort it will take to repair their town.

A cursory glance down the once-bustling Main Street says it all.

Debris is still scattered across the road while furniture and shop fittings pile up on pavements and in skips.

Cumbria's economy set to stay afloat

Cumbria has had it tough this century.

November's floods are the third disaster to strike after foot and mouth in 2001 and a previous wave of floods in 2005, which that time primarily struck Carlisle.

Additional information

A number of bridges have collapsed or are on the verge of giving way in the Cumbrian floods. But is there any way to guarantee this doesn't happen?

Seathwaite and Borrowdale had 314mm in 24 hours on Thursday, thought to be wettest 24 period ever recorded in the UK
Monthly rainfall in 25 days - Keswick 470mm
Monthly rainfall in 25 days - Shap 579mm

The financial effect of flooding can be devastating, but often it is the subsequent upheaval that causes the biggest worry.

The village of Martinstown in Dorset has long had a special place in the hearts of meteorologists.

On 18 July 1955, it experienced the heaviest rain ever recorded in the UK over a 24-hour period. Until the week of the Cumbrian floods that is. Now the dubious honour belongs to Seathwaite and the people of Cockermouth.

How other media organisations reported the floods in Cumbria


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