Carlisle Floods 2005

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  • Created by: alicehann
  • Created on: 09-07-15 15:07

What is it? Where is it?

Carlisle is situated on the flood plain of the river Eden with 3 rivers meeting in the city. It is in Cumbria, near the Scottish border. The catchment covers approximately 2400km2 and is home to 244,000 people. Only 1% of the catchment is urban: the main urban areas are Carlisle, Penrith and Appleby. In January 2005 there was a flood in Carlisle. It was the worst flood since 1882.

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History of flooding

There are recorded floods going back to the 1700s. In recent years there have been significant floods in 1963, 1968, 1979, 1980, 1984 and 2005.

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Climatic causes (dominant)

Heavy continuous rain for 2 weeks in late December 2004 and Early January 2005 – Antecedent rainfall already saturated the soil and thus would no longer allow water to infiltrate, and surface runoff was excessive (147,205,000m3 of runoff/73% of River Eden at Carlisle).

15% of annual rainfall between 6th and 8th January – 72hrs – 67% of flooding was caused by rivers and watercourses – 25% was caused by surface water.

Annual precipitation is 2,800mm in the upper catchment – Highest in the country.

Storm force winds of 90mph-12mph

-Felled trees causing river blockages and significant power failures

During the flood the flows in the rivers such as the Eden, Kent and Derwent were the highest on Record – The River Eden peaked at an estimated 1520m3/s at the Sheepmount Gauging station at 2:30pm on the 8th January.

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Physical Causes

Upper Eden is Moorland – Sparse Vegetation - little vegetation storage.

Cooler temperatures in Upland Areas – Relatively Little Evapotranspiration

Surrounding upland area has thinner soils which are easily saturated and lead to runoff.

Local geology includes impermeable stales and volcanic rocks in the Skiddaw area and sandstone and limestone in the Vale of Eden.

Large parts of the drainage basin have steep slopes. Much Lower gradients are found in the Carlisle Area.

Land use is mixed arable and grassland in valleys and rough pasture on uplands.

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Human Causes

Carlisle lies on a floodplain.

Extensive Building has taken place close to the River Eden since 1968 when floods last struck the city.

Confluences of the river Petteril and Caldew in Carlisle

Blockages in drains and rivers from debris and fallen trees.

Overflowing of surface water and sewers – 8% of flooding was caused by flooding from sewers and infrastructure.

The Environment Agency did not predict that the Carsile Flood Defences would be breached but he exceptional river flows make it hard to predict the height of the water. – First warning was given at 5:18pm on the 7th January – 1 day after the flooding started.

Environment agency proposals for £35 million increased flood defences are at public consolation stage.

80% of the wetlands and tributaries upriver on the Eden have been lost since the 1950s. These areas which absorbed heavy rainfall before slowly releasing it into rivers were drained to improve grazing.

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Social impacts (dominant)

2,700 homes were affected

3 people died – 2 elderly people died of hypothermia and 1 crushed by a falling tree.

1,844 properties were flooded

Estimated cost of £100million

Environment agency issues flood warnings via AVM, Floodline, local media and finally knocking on doors.

6,000 people had to be rehoused.

70,000 people without power for 3 days; 3,000 for 5 days.

Virgin West Coast Mainline to London Rail services cut for 2 days

Roads and bridges shut for 2 days.

70 buses lost worth £3 million.

All city schools closed for a minimum of 3 days due to power cuts, 2 seriously flood damaged.

Magistrates court was flooded, relocated to Penrith. 

McVities Biscuits, employing 1100, flooded.

Police station flooded, all criminal evidence lost, mobile unit located in city centre – 8ft of water.

Fire station flooded, relocated to Carlisle Castle – 8ft of water. Carlisle Castle is built on a mound.

Emergency centres set up in a school and church hall to receive rescued residents, ran for 5 days.

Schools and pubs offer hot drinks and food to local residents using up defrosting food.

All shops shut, some reopened to give out emergency supplies of water, food and torch batteries, candles etc.

Phone exchange flooded mobile phone mast down, no means of recharging phones led to communication breakdown – Radio Cumbria becomes main source of information and broadcast throughout the crisis.

RAF, Coastguard and Mountain Rescue teams evacuate people by boat and helicopter – Cumbrian Mountain Rescue Service were the only organisation with fully operating communication systems.  

All non-emergency operations cancelled at infirmary (hospital)

‘Dunkirk’ spirit of the people to be cheerful in extreme adversity.

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Economic Impacts

Costs add up to £400 million

Designated ‘Gold’ emergency response HQ in the Civic centre flooded – 8ft of water.

Rail services cut for 2 days

Roads and bridges shut for 2 days

70 buses lost worth £3 million

All city schools closed for a minimum of 3 days, 2 seriously flood damaged – Estimated cost of over £4 million

Magistrates court was flooded, relocated to Penrith.

McVities Biscuits, employing 1100, flooded.

Willowholme, Caldewgate and Rosehill industrial estates flooded damaging 325 business properties estimated cost £100 million.

All shops shut, some reopened to give out emergency supplies of water, food and torch batteries, candles etc.

Phone exchange flooded mobile phone mast down, no means of recharging phones led to communication breakdown – Radio Cumbria becomes main source of information and broadcast throughout the crisis.

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Environmental Impacts

1,150 trees were felled in the gales

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Short-term responses

Police use mobile unit for a week then in temporary offices in old citadel for a year, police station found to be too contaminated to use – Rescued more than 150 people from Warwick Road, the main road into Carlisle from the M6 – Worst affected area.

Firefighters clean-up original station and return

Emergency repairs  to flood defences

50 buses brought from northern region and then new fleet purchased.

Worst flooded school shut for 2 weeks then for 9 months pupils relocated to a school and college.

Shortage of rental properties – flooded residents paid to live upstairs in their houses

Shortage of second hand cars

Builders and flood restoration firms drafted into city boosts B+B trade in surrounding area

Emergency works to flood defences carried out summer 2005.

Concerns mount as to insurance premiums and mortgage availability

One suicide by uninsured householder

Increase in cases of depression

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Long-term responses

Reappraisal of flood defence needs for the city, works expected to last 3 years costing £20 million

Plans to rebuild Police Station on new site

Plans to significantly alter city centre

Call to rebuild schools and change educational provision at same time

Many small family firms closed down

A year on some flood victims still in temporary housing.

Increases in household and car insurance premiums throughout the Carlisle Postcode area.

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Protecting Carlisle Phase A

Phase A – Rivers Eden And Peterill – Protects 1,500 properties, using 4km of Raised Flood defences

  1. Raise and Widen earth embankments

  2. Construct new flood walls (clad with locally appropriate materials) with drain down sluices

  3. Environmental enhancements to Melbourne Park (Soft) – creating 4 areas of improved habitat for wildlife – removing obstructions from the river

  4. Flood Warning Service

16th May 2006 – Spring 2008

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Protecting Carlisle Phase B

Phase B – Caldew and Carlisle City – Will protect 3,500 properties in Denton Holme and Willow Holme areas and Industrial areas. Includes 5km of Raised Flood Defences – Will cost £25 million

  1. 2 areas set aside as flood drainage basins - Holme Head on The Caldew - Reopening of the natural floodplain downstream of Carlisle

  2. Planning Application Approved

  3. Extensive Hard Engineering within Carlisle – Raising of 2 footbridges to reduce risk of debris such as fallen trees blocking the river – Install a pumping station on the Little Caldew

2008 -2010

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Advantages of protection scheme

Flood defence height can be increased. Both schemes can cope with a significant flood event whose likelihood increase with global warming. They both increase the standard flood defence to a level of service equivalent to a 1 in 200yr flood.

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