Storm Desmond brings chaos to East Lancashire

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A number of public events were cancelled across East Lancashire this weekend while homeowners were urged to be vigilant as Storm Desmond swept across the country.

Although there were no incidents of flooding in the Burnley area, heavy rainfall and strong winds prompted the Environment Agency to issue advice.

In Nelson, firefighters were called out to help an elderly woman at her home in Swinden Lane. Water had got into her porch on Saturday morning prompting firefighters to place sandbags around the front door.

The Santa’s Specials weekend was postponed at Burnley’s Thompson Park while the Ribble Valley Christmas Fair was cancelled.

Fire crews from Burnley, Nelson and Clitheroe were all called out to offer assistance in Lancaster, which was particularly badly hit.

The Environment Agency issued 10 Flood Warnings and seven Flood Alerts across Lancashire.

Environment Agency teams worked closely with the emergency services and partners and continue to work around the clock checking and maintaining flood defences, clearing blockages in watercourses, monitoring water levels and will issue flood warnings where necessary.

Pumps from other paets of England have been transported up to Cumbria and Lancashire over the last two days and are now being moved to the areas where flooding is likely.

Steve Hardy at the Environment Agency said: “We have experienced large rainfall amounts over northern England and we’re expecting further heavy rainfall over the next 36 hours landing on saturated ground. We expect significant flooding and urge the public to act now.

“We have issued a number of flood warnings and alerts and will continue to monitor river levels throughout the day and will update warnings and alerts as the situation changes.

“Flooding can happen very quickly and with catchments already saturated and more rain expected people need to be prepared.

“We encourage people to protect themselves and others, move family and pets to a safe place, keep a flood kit ready, turn off gas/electric/water supplies and put flood protection in place and to keep checking local weather forecasts and the .Gov.uk website for information on a regular basis.”

Meanwhile, a spokesman from the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) said: “NWAS has been operating under extremely challenging circumstance with severe floods in Cumbria and Lancashire preventing access to many parts of the counties.

“Despite there being no casualties reported as a direct result of the floods, the Trust declared a major incident just after 5pm (Saturday).

“We are working closely with our colleagues in the NHS, Cumbria Police, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service and other agencies to assist local communities as best we can.

“We would ask the public to only call 999 in cases of life-threatening or potentially life-threatening emergencies as it is important that we keep ambulances free for those in urgent need. Because of the road closures, many people will experience delays in an ambulance reaching them. If you have called 999, we will be with you as soon as we can unless we have advised you of any other alternatives.

“Keep listening to local radio stations for updates.”

People can sign up to receive free flood warnings for rivers, check their flood risk and keep up to date with the latest situation, including a three-day flood risk forecast on the GOV.UK website at https://www.gov.uk/check-if-youre-at-risk-of-flooding or via #floodaware on Twitter and Facebook.