Local BBC Sites

Page last updated at 10:42 GMT, Friday, 19 November 2010
Cumbrian Floods 2009

Women walking through debris

The effects of the severe weather of 2009 are still being felt across the county.

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 (8ins) 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.

The emergency services declare an 'Unusual Incident' at 8am. This is upgraded at 2pm when a major incident is declared. Flood defences are overtopped at Keswick, Kendal and Cockermouth.

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 the Northside bridge collapses just after 0500 GMT.

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.

The Environment Agency reports that the total rainfall recorded at Seathwaite Farm in 24 hours was 316.4mm. This rises to over 400mm in 72 hours.

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
Hundreds of people attend the funeral of Pc Bill Barker

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.

Thursday, 10 December

An inquiry is to be held into the impact of devastating flooding on Cumbria's transport infrastructure.

During last month's storms six bridges collapsed and others were damaged.

The Commons Transport Committee will look into the causes and whether roads and railways were adequately protected.

Saturday, 19 December

A free train service set up to help flood-hit Cumbria will continue operating until May, the government has promised.

Transport minister Sadiq Khan has announced an extra £750,000 to secure the service which was set up as a vital link for residents in Workington.

Monday, 21 December 2009

After the flood: The book shop

Cockermouth is beginning to return to normal a month after high street shops were damaged by severe floods.

The BBC's Chris Eakin revisited The New Book Shop, which was badly damaged in the floods, and spoke to owner Catherine Hetherington.


With a New Year comes the optimism of many communities to plan for the future and learn from the past.

The longer summer days offer some hope that recovery can speed ahead.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Flood-hit householders in one South Lakeland are to pay less for their council tax until their homes become completely habitable again.

Some residents have been living in the upstairs of their homes because the ground floor was damaged in the November floods.

South Lakeland District Council has granted those residents a 50% discount on their council tax.

BBC News: Tax relief for flood-hit houses in Cumbria

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

The Prince of Wales has returned to Cumbria to visit areas affected by the November floods.

The prince travelled to the Wateredge Inn on the shores of Lake Windermere and the town of Cockermouth, both devastated by last year's heavy rain.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Flood Pc widow speaks of loss

Six months after he was swept to death by floodwater, the widow of a Cumbria Police officer has spoken of the night "Mother Nature completely lost it".

Hazel Barker said that the family was still finding it difficult to cope after the tragedy.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Artists impression of the new Navvies Bridge
The bridge will carry pedestrians and cyclists across the River Derwent

Plans for the replacement of a bridge destroyed by floods in Cumbria are being put before the public.

Workington's Navvies Bridge was damaged beyond repair by flood water last November.

Cumbria County Council has submitted a proposal for a bow-arch crossing to carry both pedestrians and cyclists across the River Derwent.

BBC News: Plans for new Workington bridge

Friday, 8 October 2010

A temporary railway station built for a flood-hit Cumbrian community is being closed after 10 months use.

Network Rail constructed the Workington North station when floods in November 2009 damaged or destroyed several road bridges in the area.

The service allowed people to travel across the River Derwent and avoid lengthy road detours.

But as road routes reopen, passenger numbers have fallen from a high of 2,200 per day to an average of two.

BBC News: Temporary station closed

Friday, 15 October 2010

The death of a Pc who fell from a bridge that collapsed during floods in Cumbria was an accident, an inquest jury rules.

A post-mortem examination concluded he died from a combination of blunt head trauma and drowning.

The inquest heard evidence from colleagues and the officer's widow Hazel of his courage and dedication to his job.

The hearing was also told that Northside Bridge - more than 100 years old - was in "satisfactory condition" before the devastation caused by the "unprecedented" heavy downpour.

BBC News: Inquest held into Pc' s death

Friday, 29 Oct 2010

A clothing bank set up to help victims of floods in a Cumbrian town has closed its doors after 11 months.

Volunteers set up the facility to distribute donated clothes, bedding, toys and cleaning products.

BBC News: Clothing bank closes

Monday, 7 November 2010

Wish you were here book cover
The book will be sold to raise money for charities

A book containing postcards written by celebrities to show their support for Cumbria after last year's floods is to go on sale.

Cumbria Tourism asked people including Dame Judi Dench and Patrick Stewart to spread the word it was still open for business after last November's floods.

The cards have been collected for a book, with a forward by the Prince of Wales.

BBC News: Postcard book goes on sale

The future

Cumbria Floods One year on: Caz Graham revisits those who suffered in Cumbria's floods in 2009.

This year has been a year of rebuilding for the town's residents and the programme hears from people who are still trying to deal with the effects of the floods.

How other media organisations reported the floods of 2009


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific