A police constable has drowned in the floods, which have swept the Lake District this week. PC Bill Baxter was crossing a bridge as it collapsed under him. His body washed up on the shores of the Irish Sea, a few miles from Workington from where he was swept away. Moments before, he had stopped a bus and tanker lorries from crossing the bridge in the A597 road, which runs along the coast of Cumbria.
Hundreds of people were evacuated by helicopter from Cockermouth, east of Workington, as the two rivers that converge at the town rose. Waterlevels in the main street reached 8 feet, and late last night, the water flowed at an estimated 20 to 25 mph. The water has now receded, leaving behind an indescribable mess.
Other places affected by flooding include Keswick and Kendal, in the Lake District, as well as Langholm and Dumfries in southern Scotland. The rainfall totals reached 15 inches in 24 hours; one third of the annual rainfall total for London. It was brought on by a front, which ground to a halt over northwestern England, pumping huge amounts of moisture from the tropics northeast to the British Isles. Another low pressure system is moving in, but this will scoot through with force 9 gales in the northwest (i.e. my neck of the woods).
My sympathies go out to PC Baxter and his family of 4 children, his colleagues and friends.