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Floods in Carlisle - January 2005

Heavy rainfall on Friday 7 January led to flooding in Carlisle on Saturday 8th January 2005.

The rainfall was prolonged over the high ground of the nearby Lake District and Pennines, draining into the River Eden on which Carlisle is situated. Places in western Scotland and north Wales also recorded high rainfall amounts from this event because of similar conditions in a south-westerly airstream.


Three people were killed, many homes and businesses were flooded and schools were closed. There was widespread transport disruption with all of Carlisle's buses damaged. Appleby, Cockermouth and Keswick also had flooding. This was the worst flood to affect Carlisle since 1822. The following are links to the BBC News website.

Three dead, two missing in floods

Community spirit shines through

The Met Office is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Weather data

On the 7th a westerly airstream affected the UK with a near stationary weather front across northern England and southern Scotland. A very deep depression then tracked eastwards across southern Scotland on the 8th. Details of the wind associated with this system are given January 2005 - stormy spells The highest rainfall (180.4 mm) was recorded at Rydal Hall, Cumbria and this is estimated as likely to occur less often than once in 200 years. Many places had over 100 mm of rain in one day with several having a once in more than 30 years event.

The synoptic situation at 12 GMT on Friday 7 January 2005.


Shown below are the rainfall rates detected by the rainfall radar network every 15 minutes from 1800 on 7 January to 0300 on 8 January 2005.


This map gives the distribution of rainfall on 7 January 2005 (0900 on 7th to 0900 on 8th)

Station details, with return periods estimated using the Flood Estimation Handbook
Station County Amount(mm) Return Period(yrs)
Rydal Hall No 2 Cumbria 180.4 >200
Honister Pass Cumbria 164.2 100
Crosby Garrett Cumbria 101.3 100
Askham Hall Cumbria 83.7 100
Sleagill Cumbria 87.5 95
Scalebeck Farm Cumbria 91.8 85
High Snab Farm Cumbria 148.0 80
Orton Shallowford Cumbria 110.2 80
Kirkby Stephen: South Road Cumbria 92.9 80
Alston S Works Cumbria 90.2 70
Shap Cumbria 118.6 60
Burn Banks Cumbria 119.0 55
Mungrisdale: Lowbeckside Cumbria 97.5 40
Dale Head Hall Cumbria 123.6 30
Calebreck Hall Cumbria 83.6 30
Turnerford Cumbria 78.4 30
Kendal S Works Cumbria 76.2 30
Grasmere: Tanner Croft Cumbria 128.8 20
Brathay Hall Cumbria 95.2 20
Keswick Cumbria 94.4 20
Carlisle Cumbria 48.0 20
Elter Water: Carr Howes Cumbria 109.4 15
Bampton: Swindale Head Cumbria 102.2 15
Longsleddale: Swinklebank Cumbria 95.2 15
Seathwaite Cumbria 158.6 10
Snaizeholme North Yorkshire 129.6 80
Moorland Cottage North Yorkshire 118.6 65
Bainbridge North Yorkshire 100.0 60
Beckermonds North Yorkshire 95.8 30
Askrigg North Yorkshire 86.0 30
Turnerford North Yorkshire 78.4 30

Additional information

Use of high-resolution NWP rainfall and river flow forecasts for advanced warning of the Carlisle flood. N. Roberts, S.J. Cole, R. Forbes, R.J. Moore, D. Boswell. Met Applications Volume 15, Royal Meteorological Society, March 2008.

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