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    Unhappy Anyone heard from martinm recently?

    This is his neck o da woods.

    Britain hit by floods after record rainfall

    By Nigel Roddis, Reuters November 20, 2009 4:02 AM

    C ockERMOUTH, England - Torrential rain of "biblical proportions" caused serious flooding across northern England and southern Scotland on Friday as searches intensified for a police officer who went missing after a bridge collapsed.

    Flood defences in Cumbrian towns were overwhelmed by unprecedented downpours that officials said could be expected only once in a thousand years.

    The Meteorological Office said the amount of rain expected during the entire month of November had fallen in 24 hours, with the Environment Agency reporting 314 mm had fallen in one area which it said was a record for England.

    "It was described to me this morning, this particular flood, as of biblical proportions," said Tony Cunningham, MP for Workington, one of the worst affected towns.

    "That gives you some idea of the scale and the force of the devastation," he told Sky News.

    Lifeboats and Royal Air Force helicopters were used to rescue hundreds of people from their homes in towns and villages across the picturesque Lake District.

    The Ministry of Defence said military help was being provided and could be stepped up while Cumbrian police said a search was continuing for a police officer who disappeared when a bridge collapsed under the weight of water.

    Emergency services said they were also concerned about another 10 properties in the town of C ockermouth they had been unable to reach, while media reports said some trapped residents had been forced to smash through their roofs to escape.

    "This is an extremely serious incident. We have seen unprecedented rainfall," said Environment Agency Chairman Chris Smith.

    Britain has been hit by severe flooding in recent years, raising questions about the impact of global warming. Last year Britain saw its wettest summer since records began in 1914 while floods in 2007 affected 55,000 homes and businesses and left an insurance bill of around 3 billion pounds.

    The Met Office said there was a better forecast for Friday but another 40 mm of rain could fall on Saturday.

    Officials said there were four severe flood warnings — where there is extreme danger to life and property — for northwest England and another eight in Scotland.

    One witness in C ockermouth told BBC radio he saw the water level rise rapidly from his top floor window.

    "In the space of about 5 minutes, from there being puddles on the main street there was about an inch of water right across it, and then it rose very quickly.

    "Within a very short space of time people were wading knee deep and then belly deep. And it was going up so fast it actually got very scary."

    © Copyright (c) Reuters

    Best of luck to the lads working on this mess.


    Emergency rescue workers use an inflatable boat to rescue flood stranded residents of C ockermouth, in Cumbria, north-west England, on November 20, 2009. Hundreds of homes were flooded after torrential rain battered parts of northern England, northwest Wales and western Scotland throughout Thursday and Friday, rescue officials said. Photograph by: Andrew Yates, AFP/Getty Images
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    Last edited by MalahatTwo7; 11-20-2009 at 12:09 PM.

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    Floods devastate UK Lake District; much of Ireland

    By SCOTT HEPPELL, Associated Press Writer Friday, November 20, 2009(11-20) 05:48 PST C OCKERMOUTH, England (AP)

    Military helicopters winched dozens of people to safety and emergency workers in inflatable boats rescued scores more as floods on Friday swamped northern England's picturesque Lake District. One police officer was missing and feared dead after a bridge was swept away.

    British soldiers conducted house-to-house searches for those trapped by floods as deep as 8 feet (2.5 meters). Troops also dropped down on lines from air force helicopters, breaking through rooftops to pluck people to safety.

    Emergency services said more than 200 people were rescued in the hardest-hit town, C ockermouth. At least 960 homes were flooded after a day of unprecedented rain, police in the northern region of Cumbria said.

    Heavy rain and gales also brought widespread flooding to Ireland, as more than 3 feet (1 meter) of water shut down the center of the country's second-largest city, Cork, and more than a dozen towns and villages.

    C ockermouth, a market town 330 miles (530 kilometers) northwest of London, lies at the junction of the C ocker and Derwent rivers and is known for being the birthplace of poet William Wordsworth.

    "It has devastated the town," said Michael Dunn, manager of the Bitter End pub in C ockermouth. "There is a lot of properties in Main Street, private shops, that have had their windows smashed in by the force of the water and by debris in the water.

    "There were cars floating down the street. It will be a long time before C ockermouth recovers from this."

    The rain stopped and floodwaters began to ease Friday, giving rescuers a chance to reach trapped people by boat. Debris swirled around the boats as they pulled people to safety.

    Tony Walker of C ockermouth told BBC radio he was on the top floor of his house and the water on the ground floor was chest-high.

    "I've had better mornings," Walker said. "I've been here all night and I've run out of water now, so I'm thinking of making a break for it, really. The water is still pretty deep, it's going down, but at this rate it's going to be hours before it's clear."

    Forecasters said the rainfall was unprecedented. The Environment Agency recorded 12.3 inches (314.4 millimeter) of rain in 24 hours in one spot — one of the wettest days ever recorded in England.

    "It looks like a very historical event," said Julian Mayes, a forecaster with MeteoGroup UK.

    Environment Secretary Hilary Benn told the BBC that flood defenses were meant to withstand a one-in-100-years flood — but could not cope with the volume of water.

    "What we dealt with last night was probably more like one-in-a-1,000, so even the very best defenses, if you have such quantities of rain in such a short space of time, can be over-topped," Benn said.

    Police urged people not to travel, as many roads were impassible. Two bridges collapsed in the town of Workington, including a main one over the River Derwent. Cumbria Police said Constable Bill Barker, 45, was swept into the water as he stood on the bridge. The force said Friday that rescuers searching for him had found a body.

    "This is a stone bridge — to wash away a bridge of that size and dimension is incredible," said lawmaker Tony Cunningham.

    Prime Minister Gordon Brown that he had spoken to Cumbria Chief Constable Craig Mackey to offer help.

    "Our thoughts are with all those who have been impacted by these floods," Brown said.

    The Irish army deployed more than 100 soldiers, two dozen trucks and several flat-bottomed boats to evacuate people trapped by waist-deep floodwaters in cars and homes. A helicopter also winched to safety a County Galway family of five, including the 87-year-old grandmother.

    The floods caused transport chaos along Ireland's western coast, with many major roads blocked and train services canceled.

    The River Suck burst its banks in County Leitrim near the Northern Ireland border, flooding the town of Ballinasloe and cutting off major roads to Ireland's northwest. About 40 families had to be evacuated by boat.

    The Irish weather forecasting service, Met Eireann, said parts of southern and western Ireland suffered their most intense and sustained rainfall in 30 years.

    Friday was mostly sunny but more rain and gales were forecast for the weekend.

    Associated Press Writers Shawn Pogatchnik in Dublin and Jill Lawless, Danica Kirka, Bob Barr and Jennifer Quinn in London contributed to this report.
    Last edited by MalahatTwo7; 11-20-2009 at 12:10 PM.

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    Search for policeman hit by horrendous conditions in Cumbria

    Nov 20 2009 By Matt McKenzie

    THE search for a police officer missing after a bridge collapsed in flooding was hindered today by ``horrendous" weather conditions which have seen hundreds evacuated from their homes.

    A lifeboat helping in the search in the sea off Workington, in Cumbria, was forced to turn back after three hours because the weather was so bad.
    Four bridges collapsed, main roads were blocked, schools were closed and more than 200 people were forced to leave their homes in nearby ****ermouth overnight after the deluge struck.

    The missing police officer disappeared after Northside bridge over the river Derwent, on one of the main routes into Workington, collapsed.

    RNLI lifeboat operations manager Captain Brian Ashbridge said: "There is a massive current coming down through the Derwent so, although the sea isn’t very rough, conditions for the RNLI volunteers searching in the river basin have been very challenging."

    "It’s absolutely horrendous. There is a huge amount of debris around in the water at the moment as well, which adds to the difficulties."
    ****ermouth appears to be worst hit, with both rivers running through the town bursting their banks.

    Residents said they feared more rain tonight would bring more floods.
    Alan Smith said: "The thing with the River ****er is it can fall as quickly as it can rise."

    "It’s come down four foot from last night but the fells are sodden and if we get any more rain, it will just come straight off and into the river and the level will rise again."

    "If we have persistent rain like last night and the day before, we will be back to square one."

    Families were being rescued from the floods in the town this morning.
    Dinah Cooper, 80, and her son William were saved from their home on Croftside, one of the worst-hit streets.

    Mr Cooper said he has lost all of his possessions but is just glad that his family are safe.

    His wife Helen said: "My husband and mother-in-law were stuck in the house but me and my daughter were safe because I went to pick her up from school yesterday and when I came back I couldn’t get back into my house. The whole road was cut off."

    "We’ve been so worried because they were stranded there overnight. We’ve got nothing left but the clothes we are standing in but I am so happy to see them safe."

    Workington MP Tony Cunningham said the flood was "of biblical proportions", seen only "once every 1,000 years".

    The Labour MP told Sky News: "The scale and the force of the devastation in ****ermouth is huge."

    Mr Cunningham said it would have taken great force to destroy the Northside Bridge in Workington.

    He said: "I went down to the bridge last night and I’ve never seen the River Derwent as wide as it was."

    "The force of the river was absolutely incredible. This is a stone bridge. To wash away a bridge of that size and dimension is incredible."

    Michael Dunn, manager of the Bitter End pub in ****ermouth, said the town would not recover until next year.

    He said: "This is a tourist town as well so it will hit very hard. It has devastated the town. There is a lot of properties in Main Street, private shops, that have had their windows smashed in by the force of the water and by debris in the water. There were cars floating down the street. It will be a long time before ****ermouth recovers from this."

    Evacuated residents spent last night in emergency reception centres at ****ermouth Secondary School, Keswick Convention Centre, Ulverston Victoria Hall School, Penrith Leisure Centre and St Joseph’s Secondary School in Workington.

    Rescue services from Gloucestershire, which was devastated by floods in 2007, have rushed to the aid of their Cumbrian counterparts.

    Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service deployed two hovercrafts to Cumbria, offering them to the county’s chief fire officer Dominic Harrison.

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    Rick.. he posts over on the IACOJ site.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Published: Today

    THE proud widow of a hero police constable swept away by raging floods paid a moving tribute to her husband today.

    PC Bill Barker, 44, fell into the River Derwent when the bridge he was standing on collapsed.

    His heartbroken wife Hazel said today: "How do you put into words how you feel about somebody you are so proud of?

    "Bill was my best friend, my forever friend, and an amazing dad. Even when he was exhausted from work, he would always take time out for the kids.

    "I have the comfort of knowing that Bill died doing the job he loved, and the fact that he was helping others is just typical Bill."

    The body of PC Barker was found washed up on a beach following a desperate search for the missing cop.

    Cumbria Police chief constable Craig Mackey said: "It is with deep sadness that I can confirm that the body found this afternoon is that of our friend and colleague PC Bill Barker."

    The dad-of-four was directing drivers off the Northside bridge in the town of Workington, Cumbria, when it was destroyed by fast-flowing flood waters.

    The officer, who served with Cumbria Police for 25 years, would have celebrated his 45th birthday tomorrow.

    Mr Mackey added: "Bill was a wonderful police officer and a real family man.

    "He leaves behind a wife and four children in their home in Egremont - two boys and two girls - aged between eight and 16.

    "Bill is a hero who died saving the lives of others and our thoughts are with his family at this devastating time. He was a much-loved friend, colleague and an inspiration to everyone he knew - he will be sadly missed."

    The Queen expressed her sympathy tonight for all those hit by the "devastating" floods which claimed the life of a "heroic" policeman.

    In a message to Lord Lieutenants in affected areas, she said she was "deeply concerned and saddened by the dreadful flooding across Britain".

    Prime Minister Gordon Brown earlier praised PC Barker saying the tragic officer was a "very heroic, very brave man".

    Tory leader David Cameron paid tribute to PC Barker.

    He said: "PC Bill Barker has died a true hero. We should all pay tribute to his bravery. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this sad time."

    He added: "These are absolutely dreadful floods and I feel incredibly sorry for the many people who have been flooded out of their homes and who will be desperately worried about what the future holds."

    Mr Cameron also paid tribute to the emergency services - saying their work had been "magnificent".

    Cumbria Assistant Chief Constable Jerry Graham said PC Barker and a colleague had gone on to the bridge on foot to help motorists.

    He added: "Unfortunately when they were on the bridge, the bridge gave way just due to the volume of water and PC Barker went into the water and was swept away."

    "Horrendous" weather conditions had earlier hampered the frantic hunt for the Roads Policing Officer.

    A lifeboat scouring the sea off the Cumbrian coast was forced to turn back because conditions were so bad.

    But this afternoon police confirmed that his body had been found washed up on the beach.

    A police spokesman said of the brave cop earlier today: "He is a valued colleague and friend of many officers and staff within the Constabulary - and to those in West Cumbria where he lives and serves."

    He added: "This is an extremely difficult time for the officer's colleagues, who are still committed to supporting the community and dealing with the flood situation."

    FOUR bridges collapsed, main roads were blocked and schools were closed in the towns of Workington and nearby C0ckermouth today as water levels rose to almost 8ft in the rain battered North.

    Last night a major operation was launched to rescue 200 people in C0ckermouth after the area was hit by FIFTEEN INCHES of rain.

    Forecasters said the flooding was caused by a possible "historic" amount of rainfall in Cumbria over the last 36 hours.

    Julian Mayes of MeteoGroup UK said: "It looks like a very historical event, it may well have broken the record for rainfall in the area in November."

    The Army were called in this morning to assist in house-to-house searches across the stricken county.

    The Environment Agency still had six severe flood warnings in place today — all in Cumbria — 29 flood warnings, and 65 less serious flood watches.


    Royal National Lifeboat Institution divisional inspector north Andy Clift said the rescue operation would continue throughout the day.

    He said: "RNLI teams arrived on scene around 10pm last night. They have worked through the night in horrendous conditions, evacuating people from their homes in C0ckermouth."

    RAF helicopters also airlifted at least 50 people from buildings in the town.

    Dozens of others were helped to safety by the coastguard, police, fire and rescue and mountain rescue teams.

    Devastated ... floods hit Cumbria collapsing bridge in WorkingtonMr Brown said that he had spoken to Cumbria Chief Constable Craig Mackey to assure him that any help he needed would be provided.

    The PM said: "Our thoughts are with all those who have been impacted by these floods and our thanks go out to the emergency services who continue in their extraordinary efforts to help the people affected."

    The flood became critical in C0ckermouth and Workington last night after the rivers ****er and Derwent burst their banks.

    Workington MP Tony Cunningham said today the flood was "of biblical proportions" and seen only "once every 1,000 years".

    The Labour MP revealed: "The scale and the force of the devastation in C0ckermouth is huge."

    "The scale and the force of the devastation in C0ckermouth is huge. "
    He added of the Northside bridge: "I went down to the bridge last night and I've never seen the River Derwent as wide as it was.

    "The force of the river was absolutely incredible. This is a stone bridge, to wash away a bridge of that size and dimension is incredible."

    Early this morning desperate people in the towns were breaking through the rooftops of their homes to be rescued by the emergency teams.

    Some people were up to their necks and had to grab hold of lines rigged up by rescuers battling against the torrent of water.

    Others had to be carried from their homes to escape the rising waters.

    Hundreds were left homeless and reception centres were set up at schools and leisure centres.

    By the early hours there were FIVE RAF Sea King helicopters out responding to flooding in and around C0ckermouth.

    Nine lifeboats had been launched to rescue people trapped as water surged down the main street in the centre of the town.

    Squadron Leader Dave Webster, from the RAF, said poor visibility was limiting the number of rescue missions that were possible by air, but some residents had been taken off roofs.

    He added: "We've had some people who've been evacuated from a pub, they've had to be taken off.

    "We've had other people who have been rescued from buildings that have been cut off and a couple where they've been in danger of collapse."

    Robert Runcie from the Environment Agency said the situation was "very serious" adding at least 500 homes in the area could be flooded.

    He added: "This is a very, very serious situation. The worst isn't over yet and we've got to have sympathy for those people who have lost their property and whose property is under threat."

    John Carlin, owner of the Allerdale Court Hotel, in C0ckermouth town centre, said: "The amount of rain has been staggering.

    "It's desperate. The centre is completely flooded. The water is up to the waists of the firefighters."

    Local resident Kirsty Hutchison added: "It's been unbelievable. As soon as the river broke it came up very quickly."

    Beryl Ireland, 53, who works at The Sun Inn in the town, said: "I've had people in tears coming in here tonight with their houses flooded.

    "I'm going to put up some friends who have got no accommodation tonight just to help them out."

    Several regulars were airlifted from The Black Bull pub because they couldn't leave by foot or car. Police last night said they are braced for rivers to keep RISING in C0ckermouth and nearby Keswick.

    Police Chief Supt Steve Johnson said last night: "I'd like to say it's reached a peak, but I cannot.

    "The emergency services are clubbing together.

    "We are trying to get to all those houses that are in trouble where people are trapped and to get them to the reception centres."

    United Utilities revealed last night that around 1,145 homes are without electricity in the C0ckermouth area, plus 349 in Keswick.

    Temporary defences were erected to protect 400 houses in Carlisle - where £38million barriers built after the 2005 floods held up.

    At the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in Cumbria, almost 5,000 workers were sent home because of road conditions.

    Meteorologists say 15 inches of rain has fallen in Cumbria in 30 hours - 2½ months' worth.

    Winds of up to 70mph blighted drivers and a 5mph limit caused havoc for trains.

    The weather is set to improve today before eight hours of rain is forecast for Cumbria tomorrow.

    The Environment Agency said the tidal surge could raise the flood risk along the west coast up from Aberystwyth, in Wales.

    Elsewhere, roads were shut and homes were at risk in Rossendale, Lancs, as the Irwell burst its banks. In Wales firemen freed people stuck in cars as 90mph gusts blew down power lines and thousands of acres of farmland were submerged.

    The floods are the worst since those that devastated parts of Britain in 2005. Members of the public can now telephone either of the numbers listed below should they have any concerns regarding friends and family caught in the floods who they have not had contact with.

    Call 0800 0560944 or 0207 1580010

    Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage...#ixzz0XR7ojERK

    {there are some pretty good photos in the link}

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