Cumbria farmers rescue stranded motorists from snow

Livestock farmers have been rescuing stranded motorists in Cumbria after snowfall and heavy winds caused drifts of 6ft.

Sheep farmer Chris Purdham, Croft House Farm, Gamblesby, received a call at 8.30pm on Monday (21 November) asking for help to rescue a motorist in a Land Rover that had become stranded on Hartside Top.

car stuck in snow

Speaking to Farmers Weekly, Mr Purdham said: “I managed to get up in my tractor and with the help of another farmer from Alston dug the motorist out. The main road was totally impassable and I had to use the farm track to get up there.”

See also: Pay farmers to stop towns from flooding, say MPs

The Met Office issued more than 70 weather warnings for Monday and Tuesday (21-22 November) for heavy rain in south-west England, northern England and Wales.

Coming on the back of Storm Angus, the first named storm of this autumn, farmers posted pictures of flooded fields on social media sites.

The worst-affected regions were Devon and Somerset. In Exeter, farmers were dealing with the consequences of 92mm of rainfall in 48hrs – more than one tenth of the average rainfall in just two days.

But despite the heavy rain at the start of the week, the National Trust said natural flood defences, including tree planting, measures to reduce soil and water runoff and floodwater storage on the Holnicote Estate in Exmoor, were helping to protect homes at risk of flooding in the Devon villages of Bossington and Allerford.

“Our flood storage areas held back around 20,000cu m of floodwater,” said the National Trust’s project manager Nigel Hester.

Cars and floods

Rural insurer NFU Mutual estimated that Storm Angus would lead to more than 300 claims for compensation.

The insurer warned drivers they risked wrecking their vehicles if they drive them through floodwater more than six inches deep.

In 2015, the insurer paid out for claims of almost £1m resulting from cars suffering from flood and storm damage – mostly when storms Desmond and Eva struck 12 months ago.

“Many modern cars have very low air intakes for their engines, which can scoop up water if they are driven through floods,” explained Matthew Scott, chief claims manager at NFU Mutual.

Weather outlook

Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said better weather was forecast for the UK over the next few days and into the weekend.

“In the South, it will generally be reasonably dry and settled and there will be some bright periods,” he added.

“In the North, although it might be bright in the day, there could be frost and widespread fog.”

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