Hundreds of homes evacuated as flooding hits

More than a thousand homes are being evacuated as hurricane Kate begins to batter our region.

1,000 homes are being evacuated in Kendal and hundreds more in Egremont.

The authorities have set up reception centres in the two places where people can shelter.

In Kendal, the town hall will be opened from 7pm and in Egremont, the South Lakes Academy was opened at 5pm.

There are 6 severe flood warnings for Egremont and 5 for Kendal - the highest level of alert.

It means the Environment Agency expects flooding to be so severe it may cause loss of life.

People living in properties near to rivers in the two places are being advised to put valuable items on upper floors and seek shelter elsewhere for the night.

Currently the Environment Agencyis predicting the height of the flooding will be around midnight.

Areas of central Kendal close to the River Kent and some properties at Egremont could be worst hit, but there could also be some flooding in low lying areas across South Lakeland.

Military personnel are being deployed to install temporary flood defences to protect vital infrastructure.

Cumbria Police, the fire service, the Environment Agency and local councils have created a task force that is currently working across Cumbria to mitigate flood risks in areas identified as being most at risk from flooding.

The current weather forecast is predicitng up to 8 inches of rain - a month's rainfall - throughout the night and during Sunday (14/15 November).

The Met Office is warning that this heavy and prolonged rainfall will be falling on already saturated ground and there is the potential for ‘high impacts from flooding in parts of Cumbria’.

Drivers are being warned to avoid making uneccesary journeys this evening because of the risk of dangerous driving conditions on the district’s roads.

Large rainfall amounts are expected over northern England over the next 36 hours and we are preparing for significant flooding and urging the public to act now. We have issued 6 severe flood warnings this afternoon for Egremont and 5 severe flood warnings for Kendal – this is the highest level of flood warning issued and highlights the seriousness of the situation. Flooding can happen very quickly and with catchments already saturated and more rain expected people need to be prepared. We encourage people to protect themselves and others, move family and pets to a safe place, keep a flood kit ready, turn off gas/electric/water supplies and put flood protection in place and to keep checking local weather forecasts and the website for information on a regular basis.

– Stewart Mounsey, Environment Agency