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UK weather: Lake District homes and business are left underwater

The Lake District was hit by severe flooding today as the region was lashed by 'extreme' downpours with more than a foot of rain falling in just 33 hours - blocking roads, disrupting trains and flooding homes and buildings.

Honister Pass in Cumbria has seen an extraordinary 335mm (13in) of rain fall in just 33 hours - well over a month's worth - after the Met Office warned of life-threatening floods in the region popular with holidaymakers.

Cumbria Police urged everyone in the county - including thousands of families on their half-term break - to only travel if necessary, with some roads having been flooded, including the A591 between Rydal and Grasmere.

Flooding also affected the A595 at Duddon Bridge and the A592 Patterdale Road, while Avanti West Coast advised its train passengers not to travel from stations in the North West of England and Scotland before tomorrow.

Kendal was among the tourist hotspots affected by the rising water levels today with the River Kent looking very swollen, while the clubhouse at Keswick Rugby Club was completely flooded as nearby roads turned into rivers.

The River Rothay burst its banks, the Windermere ferry was suspended and there was flooding on the road into Borrowdale. After Honister Pass, the next wettest place in Cumbria was Seathwaite with 273mm (11in) of rain.

It comes as parts of Glasgow also flooded just three days before the city is due to host world leaders at Cop26, with motorists stranded by floodwater, roads shut and drivers parking on central reservations to escape. 

A broken down car in floodwater near Derwentwater in Cumbria this morning as the Lake District is hit by heavy rain

A cyclist takes a photograph of high water levels on the River Kent in Kendal, Cumbria, this morning

People survey the flooded clubhouse at Keswick Rugby Club in Cumbria rain following heavy rain in the region

Two people walk along a bank next to flooded fields close to Keswick in Cumbria this morning following heavy downpours

Residents in the city, which is hosting the climate change event from Sunday, have also suffered in recent weeks from overflowing rubbish and gutters filling with litter as once-fortnightly bin collections were pushed back.

A 'danger to life' amber weather warning which began yesterday remained in place for South West Scotland until this morning today, as well as another in Cumbria, much of Wales and Lancashire until midnight tonight.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has issued 17 flood warnings and five alerts today, while England's Environment Agency has nine warnings and 19 alerts, and Natural Resources Wales has issued four alerts.

Sepa warned: 'Heavy and persistent rain across southern Scotland overnight into Thursday is likely to lead to river and surface water flooding in eastern Dumfries and Galloway and western Scottish Borders – expect flooding.'

Flooded pitches at Keswick Rugby Club in Cumbria this morning after amber weather warnings were issued for the area

A flooded car park at Keswick in Cumbria this morning where the Met Office has warned of life-threatening flooding

High water levels on the River Kent in Kendal, Cumbria, today after the area was lashed with persistent and heavy rain

People look down a flooded road near Keswick in Cumbria today as the Lake District is hit by severe downpours

High water levels on the River Kent in Kendal, Cumbria, today where the Met Office has warned of life-threatening flooding

The River Kent in Kendal, Cumbria, is pictured today as the Met Office issued amber weather warnings for the region

Flooding was possible at Pollok Country Park just south of where the River Clyde passes through central Glasgow, with Sepa also reporting almost 24mm (1in) of rainfall over 36 hours at nearby Dalmarnock.

Most of the other flood warnings were in the Borders, where the Eskdalemuir Observatory recorded 79mm (3.1in) of rain in the same period - to 11pm yesterday - with another two warnings in Dumfries and Galloway.

Sefra had also issued flood alerts for Edinburgh and Lothian as well as Ayrshire and Arran. The Met Office also said there is a chance of 'fast flowing or deep floodwater causing danger to life'.

Spells of sustained rainfall are expected further south throughout the day, with a yellow warning issued for heavy rain to spread across South East Wales before clearing to the east through Friday, the Met Office said.

There are also yellow weather warnings in place for parts of Yorkshire, County Durham and Northumberland – and Wales also has the same warning for rain across most of the country until tomorrow afternoon.

The rain has raised fears of travel delays and communities becoming cut off amid the 'persistent and heavy downpours', the Met Office said. It also warned of power cuts as well as properties being flooded. 

'These are exceptional rainfall totals for even the wettest part of the UK, which is Cumbria on average, and for the wettest part of the year,' Met Office meteorologist Aidan McGivern said in a forecast video. 

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has issued 17 flood warnings (in red) and five alerts (in amber) in place today

England's Environment Agency has nine flood warnings and 19 alerts in place, the majority of which are in the North West

Network Rail said it was expecting 'extreme rainfall' and said speed limits and reduced services would be in place on some routes between yesterday and tomorrow, with disruption to the West Coast Mainline.

Scotland plans 'ambitious programme of events' during Cop26

The Scottish Government is planning an 'ambitious programme of events' during Cop26 to showcase Scotland's green credentials, a minister has said.

Michael Matheson, the Scottish Net Zero Secretary, said the Government wants to be a bridge between those outside the formal negotiations and those inside.

MSPs debated the 'global ambitions for Cop26' at the Scottish Parliament yesterday. 

Mr Matheson said the Scottish Government would launch the Net Zero Futures Initiative, which encourages climate action from states and regions. 

He said children and young people would have 'meaningful opportunities to participate' through the Conference of Youth.

The minister said: 'We are delivering an ambitious programme of events that will support the global objectives of Cop26, advance our climate agenda, strengthen collaboration, and showcase Scottish activity.'

There will be multiple opportunities to showcase Scotland's renewable energy and transport sectors, he said, which would put Scotland 'at the vanguard of action internationally'.

Passengers travelling between Glasgow or Edinburgh and Carlisle are being advised to travel only if the journey is 'absolutely necessary'.

Liam Sumpter, Network Rail Scotland route director, said: 'Extreme rainfall can pose a serious risk to the railway, causing landslips or damaging our infrastructure and bridges.

'The safety of our passengers and colleagues is our main priority during periods of poor weather, and slowing services down and running fewer trains will help us manage these conditions for everyone.'

The rain lashing the UK is due to a stream of warm moist air that has moved up from the tropics. Up to ten inches (250mm) is expected to fall in Cumbria over two days – almost twice as much as in a typical October.

Ben Lukey, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, said: 'A slow-moving band of heavy and persistent rain could bring surface water and river flooding and disruption to travel, to communities in Cumbria and parts of the north of England from today (Wednesday) through to Friday and Saturday.

'Working with our partners in local resilience forums, Environment Agency teams have been out on the ground clearing waste grilles and screens, and stand ready to operate flood defences if needed.

'They are also ready to support local authorities in their response to surface water flooding. We are urging residents and visitors, especially holidaymakers in the Lake District, to stay alert and check their flood risk by signing up for free flood warnings on the Gov.uk website and via @EnvAgency on Twitter, which offer the latest updates.'

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service said residents should 'be alert to the dangers of flood water'. 'Never enter flood water on foot or in a vehicle. Call 999 if life is at risk - we're here to help,' the service tweeted.

The heavy rain started in the Lake District yesterday, where a search was mounted for a 17-year-old boy who went missing while out walking. He was later found safe.

Cumbria's flood chief Stewart Mounsey said: 'Our teams are working 24/7 to prepare for any impacts, removing debris from our rivers and checking flood defences.'

He also urged residents to be aware of potential flood risk in their area and said they were ready to operate defences 'if required'. 

Flooding on Byres Road in Glasgow's West End last night, just days before the Cop26 climate summit begins on Sunday

Severe flooding under a bridge in the Summerston area of Glasgow last night left some cars stranded in the water

Flooding in a residential area of Summerston in Glasgow last night after a deluge of rain over parts of Scotland

Flooding on Fulton Street in the Temple area of Glasgow last night as torrential rain hits parts of Scotland

Further spells of 'prolonged and heavy' rain are expected in most areas into the weekend. However, South East England is due to see drier, sunnier conditions.

While Cumbria and parts of Scotland are due to bear the brunt of the severe weather, other parts of northern England could receive a maximum of 150mm (6in) of rain, with more widespread totals of 30mm (1.2in) to 60mm (2.4in) at lower levels and 80mm (3.2in) to 100mm (4in) on the hills and fells.

Meanwhile, the wettest parts of Wales could receive 160mm (6.2in); more generally, there could be 100mm (4in) to 120mm (4.8m) on high ground and 40mm (1.6in) to 60mm (2.4in) at lower levels.

Temperatures today are set to be very mild despite the cloud and heavy rain - reaching highs of 18C (64F) in northern areas and 17C (63F) further south.

The weather is due to remain mild into the weekend with maximum temperatures in the mid-teens Celsius. In contrast to the wet conditions in the North and West, drier and brighter weather is likely in the South and East.

Further spells of 'prolonged and heavy' rain are expected in most areas into the weekend with the best chance of dry weather limited to South East England.