I have today chaired another meeting of the government’s COBR committee as we prepare for more rain across Cumbria and the North of England over the next 36 hours.
While we continue to monitor forecasts to model the precise impacts, we know rain will be falling on already saturated ground in Cumbria. The Met Office have confirmed this is the wettest December for the county since records began in 1910.
People are working round the clock, and through Christmas Day, to help communities prepare.
We have over 700 Environment Agency (EA) staff ready to respond.
The military have been deployed, working alongside EA, building temporary defences in areas we expect the biggest impacts - 85% of the country’s temporary flood barriers are in the region.
Sand bags have been dropped at key ‘at risk’ sites and more than 20 extra pumps are standing by, four of these are high volume pumps capable of moving one metric tonne of water per second.
EA staff continue to check and maintain flood defences, clearing blockages in watercourses and monitoring water levels.
Work is also ongoing to ensure key infrastructure, likes roads, rail lines and electricity substations, are protected.
Our priority continues to be protecting lives, protecting homes and protecting businesses.
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.
This has been a very difficult time for all involved, especially people flooded out of their homes at Christmas for which I have enormous sympathy.
I want to assure them we are doing all we can to keep them safe and help them recover. Since early December we have made available £60 million in funding to help householders and businesses affected.