UK weather: Two bridges ‘wash away’ as Scottish river bursts banks

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Drone footage today revealed the extent of severe flooding to hit parts of Britain as the country faces a further four days of wet weather from today with a weekend washout on the way for much of the country.

The worst of the intense downpours this week have hit southern Scotland– where drone video was filmed over Dumfries, and Biggar in South Lanarkshire – and the Lake District, which has suffered more than a foot of rain.

And the torrential conditions which have blighted the half-term school holidays so far will continue into the weekend, with another weather front arriving from the West today amid a further series of Met Office warnings. 

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The greatest rainfall today was expected in Cumbria and South West England, where Dartmoor was facing up to 80mm (3.1in) – more than a week’s worth, when compared to the October average for the region of 215mm (8.4in).

In other areas, the Met Office anticipated up to 40mm (1.57in) in South West Scotland and 60mm (2.4in) in Wales today. More rain warnings were also in place for South West England and South West Scotland tomorrow.

Then on Sunday, a band of rainfall will arrive across the South West England and Wales shortly after midnight and then push quickly northeastwards, with all of southern England under a rain warning for the whole day. A further rain warning is also in place for all of Sunday and into the early Monday for North Wales and South West Scotland. 

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency issued ten flood warnings and ten alerts today, while in England 11 alerts and 38 warnings were in place from the Environment Agency. Natural Resources Wales had 26 alerts out. 

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Despite the miserable conditions, forecasters highlighted how temperatures have been very mild for the time of year this week, with highs of 17.3C (63.1F) in Suffolk yesterday and 15C (59F) expected in London this afternoon. 

It comes as world leaders heading to the Cop26 climate change conference in Glasgow were affected by flooding and heavy rain which caused major delays, with one train firm urging passengers ‘not to travel’ across the border.

This week’s downpours come after an extraordinary wet 2020 which saw rising waters wreck homes – with the sight of sandbags today presenting a haunting reminder of flood chaos which hit the UK just before the pandemic.

Last year was the sixth wettest year for the UK on record, while February 2020 was the wettest on record and October 3, 2020 was the UK’s wettest day on record with enough rain falling across the country to fill Loch Ness.

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Flooding in Dumfries is pictured today after the River Nith burst its banks and caused chaos across the Scottish town

Flooding in Dumfries is pictured today after the River Nith burst its banks and caused chaos across the Scottish town

Major flooding around the town of Biggar in South Lanarkshire is pictured after the River Clyde burst its banks this week

Major flooding around the town of Biggar in South Lanarkshire is pictured after the River Clyde burst its banks this week

The River Wye is pictured today after bursting its banks at Builth Wells in Powys, following two days of heavy rainfall in Wales

The River Wye is pictured today after bursting its banks at Builth Wells in Powys, following two days of heavy rainfall in Wales

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Flooding in and around the town of Biggar in South Lanarkshire after the River Clyde burst its banks this week

Flooding in and around the town of Biggar in South Lanarkshire after the River Clyde burst its banks this week

Flooding around the town of Biggar in South Lanarkshire after the River Clyde burst its banks this week

Flooding around the town of Biggar in South Lanarkshire after the River Clyde burst its banks this week

An aerial view of the devastating impact of flooding in Dumfries today after the River Nith burst its banks

An aerial view of the devastating impact of flooding in Dumfries today after the River Nith burst its banks

Flooding around the town of Biggar in South Lanarkshire after the River Clyde burst its banks this week

Flooding around the town of Biggar in South Lanarkshire after the River Clyde burst its banks this week

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A van with its lights on is left abandoned in floodwater today after heavy rainfall hit Dumfries in Scotland this week

A van with its lights on is left abandoned in floodwater today after heavy rainfall hit Dumfries in Scotland this week

Drone footage reveals flooding around Biggar in South Lanarkshire after the River Clyde burst its banks this week

Drone footage reveals flooding around Biggar in South Lanarkshire after the River Clyde burst its banks this week

An aerial view of the impact of flooding in Dumfries today after the River Nith burst its banks

An aerial view of the impact of flooding in Dumfries today after the River Nith burst its banks

Drone footage reveals flooding around Biggar in South Lanarkshire after the River Clyde burst its banks this week

Drone footage reveals flooding around Biggar in South Lanarkshire after the River Clyde burst its banks this week

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Clouds over the town of Biggar in South Lanarkshire after the River Clyde burst its banks and caused major flooding this week

Clouds over the town of Biggar in South Lanarkshire after the River Clyde burst its banks and caused major flooding this week

Friday's weather warnings

Friday's weather warnings

The Met Office has issued a series of weather warnings for rain for parts of Britain running from today until next Monday

Cockermouth Mountain Rescue in Cumbria said it had to rescue two tourists and their dog from chest-high floodwater in Southwaite Mill yesterday.

Andy Brown, flood risk manager for the Environment Agency, said but for flood defences the flood damage could have been worse.

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He told BBC Radio Cumbria: ‘Those defences can’t protect us 100 per cent of the time and many people sadly in Cumbria well know, whether you be in Keswick or Carlisle or a number of other places, there will come a point when those defences will be over-topped.

‘I’m very grateful today that many thousands of properties avoided being flooded because of those magnificent flood defences.’

The Environment Agency North West said it has teams out checking flood defences and removing blockages go grids.

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Cumbria County Council said around a dozen roads were closed but workers had been working overnight to assess roads and inspect bridge closures.

Meanwhile flooding caused major delays for world leaders heading to Cop26 today – with one train firm urging passengers ‘not to travel’ across the border due to disruption after two road bridges were ‘washed away’.

Avanti West Coast – which runs services between London Euston and Glasgow, where the climate conference begins on Sunday – said Network Rail had imposed a series of speed restrictions for safety at several locations. 

Saturday's weather

Sunday's weather

Forecasters from the Met Office say that the unsettled weather is likely to continue into the weekend

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Rainfall totals yesterday

Rainfall totals yesterday

Some 370mm (14.6in) of rain was recorded at Honister Pass in Cumbria between 1am on Wednesday and 6pm yesterday

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency issued a series of flood warnings and alerts covering the country today

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency issued a series of flood warnings and alerts covering the country today

The Environment Agency had 47 alerts and 23 warnings in place

Natural Resources Wales had 33 alerts in place

The Environment Agency had dozens of alerts and warnings out (left), while Natural Resources Wales also had dozens (right)

The River Teviot flows through Hawick in the Scottish Borders today after a major flooding incident was declared overnight

The River Teviot flows through Hawick in the Scottish Borders today after a major flooding incident was declared overnight

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Properties near Hawick have deployed sandbag defences against the risk of flooding today following heavy overnight rainfall

Properties near Hawick have deployed sandbag defences against the risk of flooding today following heavy overnight rainfall

Sandbag defences in place in front of properties in Hawick today following heavy rainfall in the Scottish Borders

Sandbag defences in place in front of properties in Hawick today following heavy rainfall in the Scottish Borders

Properties near Hawick deployed flood defences today after heavy overnight rainfall on the Scottish Borders

Properties near Hawick deployed flood defences today after heavy overnight rainfall on the Scottish Borders

A man walks alongside the River Teviot today after a major incident was declared overnight in Hawick in the Scottish Borders

A man walks alongside the River Teviot today after a major incident was declared overnight in Hawick in the Scottish Borders

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A man looks down the street as flood defences are deployed in properties alongside the River Teviot in Hawick today

A man looks down the street as flood defences are deployed in properties alongside the River Teviot in Hawick today

A man walks across a footbridge over the River Teviot today after a major incident was declared overnight in Hawic

A man walks across a footbridge over the River Teviot today after a major incident was declared overnight in Hawic

Flood defences are deployed in properties alongside the River Teviot today after a major incident was declared in Hawick

Flood defences are deployed in properties alongside the River Teviot today after a major incident was declared in Hawick

National Rail said disruption to services was expected to last until at least 1pm this afternoon, when services will be ‘gradually reintroduced’. It told passengers: ‘Customers are advised NOT TO TRAVEL north of Preston today.’

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Just two days before Cop26 starts, Network Rail said it had been ‘working hard throughout the night to deal with flooding’ on the West Coast main line, with Avanti and TransPennine Express services facing speed restrictions.

In the Dumfries and Galloway town of Annan, two footbridges – the Cuthbertson Bridge and Diamond Jubilee Bridge – were swept away as the River Annan rose. Network Rail Scotland said the bridges destroyed were north of the railway with trains unable to pass over a viaduct, closing the Glasgow Central – Carlisle via Dumfries line. 

It added that the line will remain closed until workers can inspect the Annan Viaduct. A Network Rail spokesman said: ‘This requires divers to go into the water. So, until the river flow slows, we’re unable to do this.’   

A woman shelters under an umbrella this morning as she crosses London Bridge in the wet and windy conditions

A woman shelters under an umbrella this morning as she crosses London Bridge in the wet and windy conditions

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A cyclist carries his bicycle above floodwater on A592 near Windermere in Cumbria this week after it turned into a river

A cyclist carries his bicycle above floodwater on A592 near Windermere in Cumbria this week after it turned into a river

A woman walks her dog on Wimbledon Common in South West London on a wet and blustery morning today

A woman walks her dog on Wimbledon Common in South West London on a wet and blustery morning today

A commuter struggles with an umbrella in the wind as she walks through Putney in South West London this morning

A commuter struggles with an umbrella in the wind as she walks through Putney in South West London this morning

Londoners shelter from the heavy rain under umbrellas this morning as they make their way over London Bridge

Londoners shelter from the heavy rain under umbrellas this morning as they make their way over London Bridge

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River levels were very high in Cockermouth, Cumbria, yesterday - with flooding affecting an outdoor seating area (left)

River levels were very high in Cockermouth, Cumbria, yesterday – with flooding affecting an outdoor seating area (left)

Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team pump out floodwater this week after Cumbria was hit by heavy rain yesterday

Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team pump out floodwater this week after Cumbria was hit by heavy rain yesterday 

Travellers making their way to the Cop26 conference from London would ordinarily use the West Coast service to reach Glasgow, with many instead forced to travel on LNER services from King’s Cross to Edinburgh.

But other trains were disrupted by the weather, including the Edinburgh to Glasgow Central via Shotts, Edinburgh to Glasgow Queen Street via Falkirk High and Glasgow Queen Street to Alloa/Aberdeen/Inverness services.

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This week, major road routes into Glasgow have been submerged by major rain, with the city’s Great Western Road, in the West End, was left underwater – with drivers forced to leave their cars when the flooding hit. 

Overnight, emergency services evacuated people from houses from Hawick in the Scottish Borders after declaring 500 properties could be inundated amid a flood risk and heavy downpours that also hit the Lake District.

Commuters walk under umbrellas in the rain near London Bridge this morning as the capital is hit by wet weather

Commuters walk under umbrellas in the rain near London Bridge this morning as the capital is hit by wet weather

A cyclist looks at his phone while making his way along a wet road in front of a bus near London Bridge this morning

A cyclist looks at his phone while making his way along a wet road in front of a bus near London Bridge this morning

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A commuter struggles with an umbrella in the wind as she walks through Putney in South West London this morning

A commuter struggles with an umbrella in the wind as she walks through Putney in South West London this morning

Londoners shelter under umbrellas as they walk along a wet pavement in the rain near London Bridge this morning

Londoners shelter under umbrellas as they walk along a wet pavement in the rain near London Bridge this morning

Commuters walk under umbrellas near London Bridge this morning as the capital is hit by wet weather

Commuters walk under umbrellas near London Bridge this morning as the capital is hit by wet weather

Commuters are hit by heavy rain near London Bridge on their way to work this morning

Commuters are hit by heavy rain near London Bridge on their way to work this morning

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Commuters walk under umbrellas near London Bridge this morning as the capital is hit by heavy rain

Commuters walk under umbrellas near London Bridge this morning as the capital is hit by heavy rain

The entrance of 10 Downing Street in Westminster is decorated with green lights today to mark the start of Cop26 on Sunday

The entrance of 10 Downing Street in Westminster is decorated with green lights today to mark the start of Cop26 on Sunday

Officers in Hawick, which is 15 miles north of the border with England, called in the Borders Water Rescue Team, mountain rescue and fire crews to help evacuate properties, and schools and health centres were closed. 

Rain RAVAGES Cop26: Rail firm warns ‘don’t travel north of Preston’ while flooded tracks and collapsed bridges sparks delays as far south as London Euston where hundreds battle to board trains for conference

Flooding caused major delays for world leaders heading to Cop26 today – with one train firm urging passengers ‘not to travel’ across the border due to disruption after two road bridges were ‘washed away’ amid torrential rain.

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Avanti West Coast – which runs services between London Euston and Glasgow, where the climate conference begins on Sunday – said Network Rail had imposed a series of speed restrictions for safety at several locations.

National Rail said disruption to services was expected to last until at least 1pm this afternoon, when services will be ‘gradually reintroduced’. It told passengers: ‘Customers are advised NOT TO TRAVEL north of Preston today.’

Just two days before Cop26 starts, Network Rail said it had been ‘working hard throughout the night to deal with flooding’ on the West Coast main line, with Avanti and TransPennine Express services facing speed restrictions.

In the Dumfries and Galloway town of Annan, two footbridges – the Cuthbertson Bridge and Diamond Jubilee Bridge – were swept away as the River Annan rose. Network Rail Scotland said the bridges destroyed were north of the railway with trains unable to pass over a viaduct, closing the Glasgow Central – Carlisle via Dumfries line. 

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It added that the line will remain closed until workers can inspect the Annan Viaduct. A Network Rail spokesman said: ‘This requires divers to go into the water. So, until the river flow slows, we’re unable to do this.’  

Travellers making their way to the Cop26 conference from London would ordinarily use the West Coast service to reach Glasgow, with many instead forced to travel on LNER services from King’s Cross to Edinburgh.

But other trains were disrupted by the weather, including the Edinburgh to Glasgow Central via Shotts, Edinburgh to Glasgow Queen Street via Falkirk High and Glasgow Queen Street to Alloa/Aberdeen/Inverness services. 

In Peebles, the River Tweed burst its banks and there were fears in Hawick that the Teviot would be next. A rest centre was set up at the town’s Teviotdale Leisure Centre to provide shelter to residents of at-risk areas. 

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A local pub, The Bourtree, offered free tea and coffee and said it would stay open overnight to accommodate them. 

Chief Inspector Vinnie Fisher, local area commander for the Scottish Borders, said: ‘We are working with our colleagues at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Scottish Borders Council to move those affected.’

He added that the emergency services were ensuring all those evacuated would be accommodated. The Scottish Borders Council closed schools and NHS Borders shut Teviot Health Centre in the Roxburghshire town.

An £88million flood prevention scheme being built in Hawick is due for completion in 2023. Hawick Flood Group chairman Stuart Marshall said: ‘We have been working hard all day distributing sandbags.’ 

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An update last night from Sepa stated that the River Teviot had reached a peak of 9.5ft before receding and families were told they could return to their homes. Earlier, 14 flood warnings were in place in the Borders.

Flooding in Peebles was ‘very serious’ with schools closed yesterday. Seven schools shut in Dumfries and Galloway. Elsewhere, water poured on to the street at Whitesands in Dumfries from the River Nith.

Stephen Rutt, from Dumfries, posted images of the river, saying: ‘The Nith is anarchic at the best of times, veering wildly between no flow and flood. But I have never seen it like this before.’

The downpours also caused transport chaos on the roads. Flooding shut the A709 near Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire, and Traffic Scotland said it had reports of floods on the M74 near Abington, Lanarkshire. 

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Elsewhere, a landslide blocked the B725 road around six miles from Dumfries and as police warned of large areas of flooding on that road from Dumfries to Glencaple.

A Met Office yellow warning for southern Scotland and South Lanarkshire covered Strathclyde, Central Scotland, Tayside, Fife and the Lothians yesterday. Forecasters expect more rain today, with more disruption possible. 

A yellow warning of rain, which includes Yorkshire and Humber, was in force until 3pm today. Another for South-West England applies until 9am tonight while one is already in force in Wales and lasts until 3pm today.

Cumbria Police warned some roads may be impassable, while South Lakes police tweeted the A591 Rydal to Grasmere road was not passable ‘due to the depth of flood waters in several locations’.

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The force urged people not to take unnecessary risks and only to travel if they really need to.

Residents in the Cumbrian towns of Cockermouth and Keswick – both flooded in 2015 and 2009 – started laying sandbags and putting up flood barriers outside their homes as the Rivers Kent, Cocker and Derwent burst their banks.

The Met Office tweeted yesterday evening that 370mm (14.6in) of rain had been recorded at Honister Pass in Cumbria between 1am on Wednesday and 6pm yesterday.  

Delegates travelling to the Cop26 climate change summit wait on the concourse at London Euston station this morning

Delegates travelling to the Cop26 climate change summit wait on the concourse at London Euston station this morning

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Police and security personnel outside the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow today, where the Cop26 summit will be held

Police and security personnel outside the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow today, where the Cop26 summit will be held

Cyclists and pedestrians make their way through the rain across a bridge in Glasgow this morning where Cop26 is being held

Cyclists and pedestrians make their way through the rain across a bridge in Glasgow this morning where Cop26 is being held

Security guards stand at a gate in Glasgow in the rain today as people enter the campus for the climate change conference

Security guards stand at a gate in Glasgow in the rain today as people enter the campus for the climate change conference

Pedestrians shelter under umbrellas in Glasgow today as they walk past a digital display near the SEC venue in the city

Pedestrians shelter under umbrellas in Glasgow today as they walk past a digital display near the SEC venue in the city

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Grey skies over the SEC in Glasgow this morning ahead of the Cop26 climate change conference beginning this Sunday

Grey skies over the SEC in Glasgow this morning ahead of the Cop26 climate change conference beginning this Sunday

It reported 132mm (5.2in) of rain at Eskdalemuir in Dumfries and Galloway in the same period.

Aidan McGivern, a Met Office meteorologist, said: ‘These are exceptional rainfall totals for even the wettest part of the UK, which is Cumbria on average, and for the wettest part of the year.’ 

Scotland’s transport minister Graeme Dey said: ‘The conditions could potentially bring disruption to the trunk road and rail networks, so it’s important people plan their journeys before they set off.

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‘Motorists should make sure their routes are available, follow travel advice from Police Scotland and drive to the conditions.’

He added: ‘If you are planning to travel by rail, please check with your operator ahead of your journey. This is particularly important for cross-border travellers following the earlier disruption to services.’ 

People are photographed watching the River Teviot from their homes at Hawick in the Scottish Borders overnight

People are photographed watching the River Teviot from their homes at Hawick in the Scottish Borders overnight

The River Teviot is seen flowing in Hawick overnight after torrential rainfall hit the town in the Scottish Borders

The River Teviot is seen flowing in Hawick overnight after torrential rainfall hit the town in the Scottish Borders

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The River Teviot is seen flowing high and fast in Hawick overnight after families were evacuated from their homes

The River Teviot is seen flowing high and fast in Hawick overnight after families were evacuated from their homes

A man is seen fitting flood defences to his house in Hawick overnight as residents were evacuated from the Scottish Borders

A man is seen fitting flood defences to his house in Hawick overnight as residents were evacuated from the Scottish Borders

A man is seen watching the swelling River Teviot in Hawick overnight as the Scottish Borders are hit by major rainfall

A man is seen watching the swelling River Teviot in Hawick overnight as the Scottish Borders are hit by major rainfall

The River Teviot is seen flowing past an empty restaurant in Hawick overnight as the Scottish Borders is hit by heavy rain

The River Teviot is seen flowing past an empty restaurant in Hawick overnight as the Scottish Borders is hit by heavy rain

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A major incident was declared in Hawick, pictured overnight, after sustained heavy rain caused the River Teviot to swell

A major incident was declared in Hawick, pictured overnight, after sustained heavy rain caused the River Teviot to swell

Around 500 homes are thought to be affected in Hawick with residents evacuated from their properties overnight

Around 500 homes are thought to be affected in Hawick with residents evacuated from their properties overnight 

The River Teviot is seen flowing high in Hawick overnight as a major incident was declared in the town in the Scottish Borders

The River Teviot is seen flowing high in Hawick overnight as a major incident was declared in the town in the Scottish Borders

Trees are seen submerged in the River Teviot in Hawick overnight as the Scottish Borders town is hit by major flooding

Trees are seen submerged in the River Teviot in Hawick overnight as the Scottish Borders town is hit by major flooding

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A couple are seen watching the River Teviot in Hawick overnight as a major incident was declared in the town

A couple are seen watching the River Teviot in Hawick overnight as a major incident was declared in the town 

Trees are seen submerged in the River Teviot in Hawick overnight as a major incident is declared in the Scottish town

Trees are seen submerged in the River Teviot in Hawick overnight as a major incident is declared in the Scottish town

Workers at the Sellafield nuclear power plant were also allowed to leave early and Cumbria police urged people to stay at home if possible.

People are seen watching the River Teviot from their homes in Hawick in the Scottish Borders overnight

People are seen watching the River Teviot from their homes in Hawick in the Scottish Borders overnight

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People walk over a bridge as trees are seen submerged in the River Teviot in Hawick in the Scottish Borders overnight

People walk over a bridge as trees are seen submerged in the River Teviot in Hawick in the Scottish Borders overnight

Trees are seen submerged in the River Teviot in Hawick overnight as the Scottish Borders are hit by flooding

Trees are seen submerged in the River Teviot in Hawick overnight as the Scottish Borders are hit by flooding

Sandbags are seen outside a business in Hawick in the Scottish Borders overnight as it is threatened by flooding

Sandbags are seen outside a business in Hawick in the Scottish Borders overnight as it is threatened by flooding

The River Teviot is seen flowing past a partially built bridge in Hawick overnight as the Scottish Borders sees heavy rain

The River Teviot is seen flowing past a partially built bridge in Hawick overnight as the Scottish Borders sees heavy rain

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A man is seen fitting flood defences to his house in Hawick overnight as heavy rain falls over the Scottish Borders

A man is seen fitting flood defences to his house in Hawick overnight as heavy rain falls over the Scottish Borders

Sandbags are seen outside a house in Hawick overnight as a major incident was declared following sustained heavy rain

Sandbags are seen outside a house in Hawick overnight as a major incident was declared following sustained heavy rain

In Cumbria, Ray Milner said he feared his Cockermouth home would be flooded a third time in 12 years if projected river heights were borne out last night. ‘Even slightly rainy, it gets me stressed,’ he said.

‘There are sensors at various points of the river and the Environment Agency make computer projections from them. The one for about 3am is for well above three metres (10ft).’

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He said anything above two metres (6.5ft) would see water enter his property. Meanwhile Gillian Jackson said several of her holiday lets in Cockermouth had also been flooded again. 

‘We’ve been through this before so it’s just get up, get on with it,’ she told the BBC. ‘Yes it’s upsetting but we’ve kind of got a bit hardened to it, got used to it, and we’ve just got to crack on and sort it out.’

** Have you been affected by flooding today? Please send your photos to: [email protected] ** 

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