Christmas Day in the UK saw the army being drafted in to help with flood defences in Cumbria as residents prepared for yet another downpour. There are currently five severe flood warnings and 73 warnings in place across England and Wales and with further rainfall expected, Cumbrian communities are bracing themselves for a fourth flood in just one month.
Yesterday (25 December), soldiers assisted by putting out sandbags as temporary flood walls in anticipation of further downpour over parts of Scotland, northern England and north Wales on Boxing Day. Speaking to Sky News, Major Nick Higgins described the Christmas Day efforts as "business as usual". He said: "The people of Appleby and the surrounding area we have been operating in have been massively affected by these storms and it's important that we are here to help them."
The heaviest deluge is expected over north-west Wales and north-west England, which could see between 2 to 3 inches of rainfall. The Met Office has issued an amber warning for Cumbria and parts of Lancashire, meaning that people should "be prepared". Around 40 roads and bridges are still closed and hundreds of homes and businesses are no longer fit for purpose.
"Cumbria is the area most at risk from further river and surface water flooding later today and tonight, with parts of Lancashire and Yorkshire also at risk," an Environment Agency spokesperson told the BBC. "There is also the potential for some flooding along parts of the River Severn in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and Worcestershire over the weekend and into Monday (28 December)."
"Our priority continues to be protecting lives, protecting homes and protecting businesses," Environment Secretary Liz Truss said. "I would like to pay tribute to the tireless work of front-line staff over the last month and the resilience of those communities affected, which I have seen first-hand."
Eight facilities were open on Christmas Day for Cumbrians besieged by flooding to provide them with a festive lunch. Resident Morag little said: "We've got the turkey, the Brussel sprouts, we've got the lot."