Farmers in Cumbria are facing up to £3m-worth of damage after the heaviest rainfall ever recorded in the UK caused havoc in the region.

While livestock losses are reported to be less severe than at first feared, floodwaters tore through low-lying areas causing widespread damage to buildings and vehicles.

Rural insurer NFU Mutual said it had already received 50 claims from residents in Cockermouth, one of the areas worst-hit after the river Cocker breached its banks, and it expected claims in Cumbria to reach £3m.

A spokesman said staff from its Cockermouth branch were visiting policyholders and had been working over the weekend to help those who were badly affected by the flooding.

Those policyholders were being offered immediate £500 emergency payment to help begin clearing up.

“Restoration firms are on stand-by to go in far earlier than in other flood disasters to help people with the clean-up – particularly those who are elderly,” the spokesman said.

“Flood-damaged cars are already being taken to a central salvage pool to speed up claim settlements.”

“We’re also looking for alternative accommodation for those whose homes have been seriously affected.”

More downpours are forecast to hit the region on Monday (23 November), with the Met Office warning of a further 50mm of rain, coupled with heavy winds.

On Monday there were 21 flood watches and warnings in place in the North West, with one severe flood warning.

View pictures showing the extent of the flooding in Cumbria on the Farmers Weekly photo gallery.