Heavy rain to continue after departure of Storm Desmond

The River Wear bursts its banks in Durham.
The River Wear bursts its banks in Durham.

The storm which left its mark on the region with strong gales and pouring rain may have gone - but heavy rain is still on the horizon for this week.

Emergency services were kept busy as high winds and heavy rain caused all kinds of problems in the North East and Wearside, with houses and garages damaged by the weather.

A Christmas tree felled in Concord, Washington. Picture by John Parrish.

A Christmas tree felled in Concord, Washington. Picture by John Parrish.

But the Met Office has forecast "persistent" rain for parts of North East England and Scotland this week, with several yellow weather warnings in place.

Cumbria was one of the areas worst hit by the storm, with many evacuated from their homes as a major incident was declared.

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said Cumbria rain gauge figures showed a record amount had fallen in the 24 hours between Friday and Saturday evenings.

It measured 341mm in Honister, which is more than a month's worth of rainfall in just one day and more than the UK has experienced in such a short amount of time.

Ms Truss said more than 2,000 homes and businesses in the county had been flooded and promised further investments would be made to protect the area in the future.

She said: "We are delivering on our manifesto commitment to build 1,400 new flood defence schemes that will better protect 300,000 more homes. That's an extra £2.3 billion of capital investment to help our most at-risk communities."

An emergency Cobra meeting, chaired by David Cameron, will be held today.

Over the weekend in Wearside, firefighters were dispatched to Hylton Road to remove a tree which had fallen against a house, while in Seaham’s Princess Road, two cars were damaged by falling bricks after a gable end collapsed.

Read more here: Storm Desmond leads to record rainfall and more bad weather could be on the way

Read more here: Storm Desmond batters the North East - gale force winds followed by floods

In London, the heavy winds caused a fatality when a 90-year-old man was believed to have been blown into the side of a moving bus by a gust of wind, near Finchley Central Tube station.

Cumbria Police also launched a search following reports of an elderly man falling into a swollen River Kent in Kendal.

Almost 60,000 homes in the county were left without power throughout Sunday as the floods damaged sub-stations and caused electrical faults. Electricity North West said that it had restored power to 24,000 homes by yesterday evening.

Water supplies in a number of main towns were also affected by flood water and at least 20 schools are expected to remain closed today.

The disruption has led to the cancellation of appointments and routine services across NHS hospitals and services today. The Cumbria Partnership Foundation Partnership has said it will be running only essential services and more information is available via the website.

Superintendent Mark Pannone, of Cumbria Constabulary, said: "A lot of the county are trying to get back to normality but we still have the ongoing incident in Carlisle where we have about 2,500 properties in Carlisle flooded.

"People overnight have been staying in their houses or in reception centres and those that have been in their houses still need to be evacuated by boat this morning.

"The other issue we have got is that the road network is complicated throughout the county, inasmuch as Kendal will be in gridlock today because the bridges will have to be inspected for structural damage."

He added that the rail network in Cumbria remained "basically at a standstill".

Mr Pannone praised the team effort of Cumbrians and emergency services and partner agencies.

He said: "The emergency services and others have worked superbly over the weekend. When the major incident was declared at the weekend that meant we were able to access national assets including the military, and everyone worked tirelessly together to ensure that people remained safe and try to support people in having as little disruption as possible.

"People have really shown their best side throughout the county this weekend in helping each other as well as working with emergency services and other agencies. It has been a fantastic team effort."

In comparison to previous floods in 2005 in Carlisle and in 2009 largely in West Cumbria, he said: "These floods have combined both, and worst.

"It has been a county-wide incident and flooding has been on an unprecedented scale, it has never been seen before."