UK

Storm Desmond brings flooding and disruption to parts of UK

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Media captionFlood water submerges street in Appleby, Cumbria

High-speed winds and heavy rain are causing severe disruption as Storm Desmond continues to batter the UK.

People were evacuated from their homes as flash flooding swept through parts of Cumbria, and police in the area declared a "major incident".

Dozens of train routes have been cancelled, and roads have been closed in Scotland, England and Wales.

Scores of severe flood warnings are in place in England, with two more issued in south-west Scotland.

Severe warnings - the highest level of alert - indicate there may be "danger to life".

BBC weather expert Chris Fawkes said the "epicentre" of the storm was likely to hit Cumbria, with the worst yet to come.

Adrian Holme, from Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, said flooding was "unprecedented".

Rescue centres have been opened in the county, sandbags are being handed out and there is an appeal for doctors to volunteer overnight.

Meanwhile, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution's (RNLI) flood rescue team has been deployed to the area.

The Environment Agency warned further flooding in Cumbria was likely over the weekend, with flood levels not expected to reach their peak until 12:00 GMT on Sunday.

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Media captionVideo from Scotland and Cumbria shows water flooding roads and houses

The Met Office's highest red warning for rain has been issued for Cumbria and south-west Scotland.

Marco Petagna, senior forecaster at the Met Office, said some areas had received a month's worth of rain in the last 24 hours.

The village of Shap, in Cumbria, received the most rain, with 178mm falling in the 24 hours until 19:00 GMT on Saturday, while Keswick was hit with 156mm. The average rainfall for Cumbria for the month of December is 146.1mm, the Met Office added.

Mr Petagna warned another 100mm of rain could still fall in the Lake District in the following 12 hours.

The stormy weather has meant:

Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted to say his "thoughts are with those affected".

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, who is MP for the Cumbria constituency of Westmorland and Lonsdale, was caught in the floods near Kendal.

He said: "We were getting our way around various diversions and basically a river that isn't normally there is there.

"It is incredible weather, we've not seen anything like this. And you know, this is Cumbria, we are used to challenging weather. This is beyond anything even I can recall and all around our neck of the woods, Kendal our main town, so many roads are underwater there."

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Image caption Appleby in Cumbria has seen some of the worst flooding
Image copyright PA
Image caption Cumbria Police declared the severe weather across the county as a "major incident"
Image copyright PA
Image caption Roads have been closed throughout northern England and southern Scotland, as emergency services battle to help those affected

BBC Weather forecasters warn of major impact over the next 24 hours across parts of northern England and Scotland, adding up to 250-300mm of rain could fall in isolated areas and levels could be "exceptional".

Up to 60mm to 100mm is likely in areas with amber warnings, with some mountainous areas seeing in excess of 150mm over a 30-hour period.

Further warnings

The Environment Agency, covering England and Wales, currently has more than 90 flood warnings, mainly in northern England but also for parts of Wales and the Midlands.

Severe flood warnings have been put in place for River Eden, at Appleby, the River Greta, near Keswick, and the River Kent, at Kendal.

The two further severe flood warnings have been issued for North East, at the River Tyne, in Corbridge, while the Scottish Environment Protection Agency has issued two severe warnings.

Image copyright Danny Lawson
Image caption A driver was helped out of his van after flooding hit Hawick, in the Scottish Borders
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Image caption A lorry overturned on the A66 near Brough, Cumbria
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Image caption Members of the armed forces distributed sandbags and bailed out water from shops in Donegal

Dumfries and Galloway Council said it was preparing for flooding similar to that which was experienced in 2009.

Storm Desmond is the fourth storm to be given a name by the public in a project by the Met Office and Met Eireann in Ireland to help raise awareness of severe weather.

Live flood warnings from the Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

Note: the Scottish Environment Protection Agency display their flood alert data differently to the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales. While the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales highlights individual rivers only, in Scotland the entire region is coloured to indicate the level of alert. This map and flood alert data are supplied to the BBC by third parties. The BBC is not responsible for its accuracy and you use it at your own risk.

Tap here for the interactive flood map.

Note: the Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency display their flood alert data differently. While the Environment Agency highlights individual rivers only, in Scotland the entire region is coloured to indicate the level of alert.

This map and flood alert data are supplied to the BBC by third parties. The BBC is not responsible for its accuracy and you use it at your own risk.

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