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Cumbria Begins Clean Up After Storm Ciara

By February 19, 2020 No Comments

Work has commenced across Cumbria in the wake of major flooding brought by Storm Ciara. Homes and businesses were hit, particularly in Appleby, where the River Eden burst its banks and devastated the town, according to the BBC.

The county saw over 150mm (6in) of rainfall within 24 hours. The water levels in Appleby reached within 2ft of those from Storm Desmond in 2015. Kendal, Keswick, and Shap in Cumbria were also badly affected by flooding, although there were no reported injuries.

The storm also prevented engineers from being able to complete repairs to a water pipe at the Watchgate Water Treatment works near Kendal, which could result in areas of the Eden Valley losing water supplies. United Utilities has set up water stations in places expected to be affected, and several schools have sent children home.

Appleby town centre, flooded for the second time in five years, was hit on Sunday, affecting businesses and home alike. The town centre Co-op was swamped, with stock being washed away by the floodwaters.

Appleby resident Karen Morely-Chesworth’s home was flooded, and she told the BBC: “We were lucky this time, we only had about five cms in the house. Last time in 2015 we had two metres. We have great flood volunteers here who knocked on the door and gave us a warning on Saturday night.

“Last time we put a £50,000 claim into the insurance company and it took eight months to get back into the house. This time the only damage we have is to the floor and washing machine and [we] should be back in, in a matter of days.”

“We were not able to get things moved as quickly. That was the lesson we learnt – was not to keep too much downstairs.” She told the Daily Mail. After 2015’s storms flooded her home, which saw her family unable to return for eight months, she had preventative measures installed in case of future incidents.

Another Appleby resident, and chairman of the Eden District Council, Andrew Connell told the BBC: “Storm Desmond was billed as a once-in-a-century event, and here it is happening again barely four years later. The river, in the end, rose to within 2ft of the level it achieved in Storm Desmond in December 2015. This was horrific for those people who saw what was happening.”

“Having said that, there was greater awareness and preparation. We now have an Appleby emergency response group, who had been alerted to the storm, although no-one knew how high the river was going to get. There was simply more water than people expected. People who had water barriers were able to put them up, so the response group performed valiantly.”

United Utilities have advised Eden Valley residents not to drink, wash, or cook with tap water as a precaution after detecting higher levels of chlorine than usual in part of the supply network after Storm Ciara severely damaged one of the water pipes supplying the area. Engineers are now taking steps to flush this water away.

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