Keswick in Cumbria was worst hit, with 82mm of rain falling in just 24 hours.

Southern Scotland, parts of north-west England and south Wales were also badly hit, with emergency services being called to rescue people trapped in their homes. Virgin trains reported that extensive flooding had closed the West Coast Main Line between Cumbria and Glasgow.

The flooding came shortly after the Government announced that areas of North Yorkshire were to be given financial help with the costs of clearing up the damage caused by June’s severe storm and flood damage, and the Environment Agency warned that too many people were ignoring the risks of flooding in this country.

Barbara Young, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency said, before the torrential downpours this week: There’s a tendency for people to think ‘it’ll never happen to me’. The fact is, it could, we just don’t know when. People in this country cannot afford to be complacent about flood risk.”

Five million people in two million properties in England and Wales live in flood risk areas, yet despite this, Environment Agency research indicates that as many as two-fifths (41%) of these people are still unaware of the threat.

The research also shows that one third of people in flood risk areas had not checked whether their buildings and content insurance covers flood damage and only 7% had found out how to get flood warnings.

The Environment Agency is now running a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of flood threats. However, as Barbara Young warned: “Whilst we can reduce the effects of floods through awareness, education and investment in flood defences, we can never prevent them.”

David Hopkins

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