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‘Major Incident’ stood down after weekend heavy snowfall in South Cumbria

A major incident which was declared over the weekend following heavy snowfall in parts of Cumbria has been stood down.

Extensive snowfall across the county, in particular the Millom and South Lakes areas, on Saturday caused major issues with Cumbria’s road network.

On Saturday afternoon, a multi-agency response was launched to support those impacted by the unprecedented snowfall which fell quickly making roads impassable and resulted in people having to abandon their vehicles.

At Grizedale Forest, approximately 500 vehicles had to be abandoned and people were stranded as they attended a rally car event which had to be cancelled at short notice. A significant multi-agency operation, assisted by mountain rescue teams, was conducted to escort those stranded to a place of safety.

Reception centres, supported by local communities and businesses, were set up to accommodate those who had to abandon their vehicles.

Throughout the weekend, Cumberland Council and Westmorland and Furness Council highways teams tackled challenging conditions to clear and treat impassable roads and priority routes.

Agencies have been working closely with Electricity North West to assist them in supporting communities who have lost power.

Engineering work is ongoing as efforts are made to restore power as quickly and safely as possible to those who remain without electricity.

Superintendent Andy Wilkinson, Cumbria Constabulary, said: “Over the weekend Cumbria experienced unprecedented snowfall which was of a much higher volume than what was forecast.

“This had a significant impact on those within our communities and those visiting the county. Hundreds of vehicles had to be abandoned and hundreds of people were supported by the multi-agency response.

“A significant amount of work has been undertaken by agencies to identify those most vulnerable and provide the appropriate support to them.

“Highways teams have worked round-the-clock to restore and maintain the road network in what were extremely difficult conditions.

“Once again, Cumbrian communities have played their part in assisting people who needed support. I thank every single member of the public who volunteered and helped those affected this weekend.

“I would also like to thank everyone involved in this multi-agency response. Long hours have been worked by many people to keep people in Cumbria safe, which is what has been achieved.

“Road conditions continue to be challenging and are expected to remain so this week due to the ongoing cold weather. Therefore, I would continue to ask people to drive with extreme care and attention. Please allow extra time for any journey.”

Meanwhile engineers from Electricity North West have said that 99% of properties will be restored today (Monday) after up to 30cm of snow hit parts of Cumbria, bringing down power lines.

Newly-reported extensive network damage means that despite teams working well into tonight, a small number of properties may not be restored until Tuesday.

Electricity North West is working with emergency responders and partners to contact all customers who remain off supply to offer support and updates. Working with local businesses Electricity North West is providing hot drinks and food at key locations free of charge for those affected.

Stephanie Trubshaw, Electricity North West’s customer director, said: “Our focus is on restoring power to the remaining impacted properties, but a small number of properties may remain without power overnight due to new extensive damage reported to us this afternoon by customers in remote areas who we have now been able to make contact with.

"We understand this is an extremely difficult situation for all of our customers who have been impacted and we are working tirelessly to ensure power is restored as quickly as possible.

“We are asking everyone to take care and look out for each other, and also to get in touch with us if we’ve not managed to contact you yet. If you’re without power and haven’t yet contacted us, or if you require any extra support, please call us on 105.”

Electricity North West is also asking customers to continue to report any damage to the network that may not have been reported so far to give the full picture for engineers on the ground of work still required. If you see any lines down, stay clear and report it immediately by calling 105.

Stephanie added: “We’re continuing to work on restoring electricity supplies and fixing the remaining damage. We ask that any customers who have any additional needs or need extra support to call us.”

More than 50 separate damages have been reported on the network with several consecutive spans of overhead line brought down which all need repairing before power can be fully restored.

Electricity North West continue to work with catering outlets to help provide food outlets to those impacted:

Greenodd Service Station - Ulverston LA12 7RE

The White Lion, Ambleside, LA22 9DB

The Dunes Hotel, Roanhead Beach, LA14 4QW

Meals on wheels  - Millom

The White Hart, Wear Bridge, Ulverston, LA12 8JB (from 5pm)

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