Thousands of homeowners in the North West are on alert tonight and praying for a dry Christmas Day as they await the latest winter storm amid flood warnings.
Heavy rain is forecast to fall on already swollen rivers and saturated ground in Cumbria on Friday evening, where flooding has hit some areas three times already this month.
But the North West of England is expected to bear the brunt again, as Storm Eva rolls in after leaving almost 2,000 homes and businesses in Ireland without electricity this morning.
Another deluge of up to six inches of rain is expected after Cumbria already suffered the wettest December since records began in 1910.
A multi-agency Strategic Coordination Group has been set up to combat the expected rainfall.
Armed forces have been called in and 700 Environment Agency (EA) staff are on stand-by to bolster flood defences as more sandbags and water pumps are rushed to Cumbria.
Flood defence gates have this afternoon been closed in Carlisle, Keswick and Cockermouth and the EA has transported over two kilometres of temporary flood barriers and more than 20 extra pumps to the north of England. Four of these are high volume pumps capable of moving 1,000 litres of water per second.
Teams of workers from the agency have also been out checking and maintaining flood defences, clearing blockages in watercourses and monitoring water levels.
The Met Office has issued an amber alert for the county, highlighting the increased likelihood of "medium impacts" from the rain, meaning some flooding of homes, businesses and transport links is possible and warning people to be prepared to protect themselves and their property.
Rain will spread across Wales and northern England through the course of Christmas Day, reaching southern parts of Scotland during the early hours of Boxing Day, with prolonged spells forecast for south Cumbria.
The latest deluge will come as towns and villages across the county are still clearing up the aftermath of Storm Desmond earlier this month, which left hundreds of homes and businesses under water.
Around 40 roads and bridges remain damaged and closed, along with hundreds of homes left uninhabitable.
Paul Mustow, deputy director in Flood and Coastal Risk Management at the EA, said:
Superintendent Justin Bibby, of Cumbria Constabulary, said:
Sir James Bevan, chief executive of the Environment Agency, said that after the latest run of bad weather the agency will talk to the communities affected to look at how they can be better protected in the future.