Aftermath of devastation.

South Lakeland council runs out of sandbags

Published:  23 November, 2009

CUMBRIA: Raging floods engulfed northern England's Lake District on Friday following the heaviest rainfall recorded in Britain. South Lakeland District Council's depots have run out of sandbags.

The authority was distributing sandbags to anyone concerned about their vulnerability to flooding from its depots in Kendal, Windermere and Ulverston.

A council spokesman said the authority had ran out of the sandbags and advised people to obtain them from builders' merchants instead.

The Environment Agency has stated that rainfall in Cumbria reached record levels with one site, Seawaite Farm, recording a provisional total of 314.4mm (12.3 inches) in 24 hours, a UK record for 24-hour rainfall.

Jamie Hannaford from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology said the flooding reflected a combination of circumstances.

"A persistent sub-tropical south westerly airstream has occurred, over oceans which are still very warm, meaning the air mass has been holding exceptional amounts of moisture.

"As this air has encountered mountainous areas in the west of the British Isles, the air has risen and become even wetter. This combination of factors has led to the exceptional rainfall totals which have been observed in recent days."

Mr Hannaford said that Cumbria was one of the wettest parts of the country and had seen notable rainfall totals in the past. "While a single event can't be attributed to climate change, this event is broadly consistent with recent observations that suggest the the North and West of the UK have become wetter and have experienced higher daily rainfalls and more protracted high river flows in the recent past," he added.

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