Floods, storms, power cuts...and now an avalanche alert

WHITE OUT: Kirkstone Pass in the grip of a blizzard

WHITE OUT: Kirkstone Pass in the grip of a blizzard

First published in News
Last updated
The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

AN avalanche warning was issued in areas of the Lake District fells blanketed in up to five metres of snow.

The weekend warning came at the end of a miserable week of weather, which saw thousands of homes in South Lakeland plunged into darkness as gales gusting up to 80mph lashed the area.

Dozens of hardy volunteers from the Lake District Ski Club dug metres of snow off the Raise, near Helvellyn, after drifts buried the club’s tow and ski hut.

Video by Nick Lee.

Armed with shovels, the huge team effort saw the tow cleared and back in action by Sunday afternoon, allowing them to enjoy the near perfect skiing conditions.

“We have had to spend time digging in previous years, but this amount of snowfall is unusual for Raise,” said committee member Paul Goodwin.

“It's always worth the effort, even when, like on Saturday, members spent hours digging and didn't get the opportunity to ski.”

Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team said on Saturday the avalanche risk in the area was ‘high’.

Meanwhile, 8,000 homes spanning across south Cumbria and north Lancashire were left without electricity as gales brought down power cables on Wednesday.

Electricity North West brought in hundreds of extra engineers to restore power and most homes were restored by Friday.

But as the wind and rain began to ease in Cumbria, flooding has continued to cause havoc in the south of the country.

Kendal firefighters were deployed as part of a country-wide response to a serious threat to life and property posed by the severity of flooding across the Thames Valley area.

Firefighters in a specialist High Volume Pump vehicle arrived in Reading, Berkshire, on Saturday morning.

Since then the team have pumped millions of litres of water from rivers and a flooded community centre. They even had time to pay a visit to Windsor Castle.

Welfare officer Brian Steadman, who is usually based in Kendal, said: “In Cumbria we’ve seen the devastation and disruption flooding can cause so we can fully sympathise with what people across the Thames Valley area are going through at the moment.

“The local people have been fantastic with us - bringing us cups of tea and coffee while we’ve been working and they’ve been so thankful for our help which has been really humbling.”

On Tuesday, a relief team for the original crew, alongside six swift water rescue trained firefighters and a boat were also sent.

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