Update – Major incident concludes

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.”

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