Carlisle River Flooding Case Study

Presentation on theme: "Carlisle Case Study Using an Atlas, describe the location of Carlise."— Presentation transcript:

1 Carlisle Case Study Using an Atlas, describe the location of Carlise.
Using the Key geography textbook pages 81+82; Identify the location of the River Eden..

2 Carlisle Case StudyCarlisle is situated on the flood plain of the River Eden with three rivers meeting in the city. The catchment covers approximately 2400km2 and is home to approximately 244,000 people. The catchment is mainly rural, with only 1% classified as urban: the main urban areas are Carlisle, Penrith and Appleby. Carlisle has a history of flooding with flood events recorded as far back as the 1700s. In recent years there have been significant floods in 1963, 1968, 1979, 1980, 1984, and recently in Across the catchment, the January 2005 flooding affected 2,700 homes. In Carlisle three people died, 1,844 properties were flooded and there was significant disruption to residents, businesses and visitors. The cost of the flooding was estimated at over £400 million. The flooding followed prolonged heavy rain, and was caused by a combination of floodwater from the Rivers Eden, Pettereril and Caldew and localised flooding from sewers and road drainage.

3 Carlisle Case StudyThe catchment of the River Eden is in Cumbria, rising in the hills of the Lake District. It reaches the sea at the Solway Firth. The catchment is made up of the Rivers Eden, Eamont, Irthing, Petteril and the Caldew, as well as smaller rivers and streams draining into the Eden estuary.

4 Carlisle Case StudyThe upper parts of the catchment are dominated by the mountains of Skiddaw and the surrounding fells. The rocks here are hard and volcanic, soils are thin and the gradients of many tributaries are steep, so these watercourses have a rapid run-off response to flooding. In the lower reaches rivers flow through wide, shallow valleys. The Eden channel itself has a steep gradient upstream of Kirkby Stephen. The head of the catchment is around 690m, falling rapidly to 160m at Kirkby Stephen. Below Kirkby Stephen, the Eden's glaciated valley opens out and the channel gradient reflects this change: the River Eden steadily loses height at around 1.8m per km to Appleby at 123m some 21km downstream. From Appleby, the Eden continues through the lowland valley to Carlisle, 9m, falling at a fairly constant rate of 1.4m per km over its 80km journey from Appleby. The valley floor is over 2.5 km wide in many places. This forms extensive areas of floodplain washlands which are an important feature of the catchment.HydrologyIn the Eden catchment there is a significant contrast in mean annual rainfall between the upstream and downstream ends of the catchment, related to the topography of the catchment.In the upland tributaries upstream of Penrith in the Eamont catchment, average annual rainfall exceeds 2800mm on HelvellynAround Carlisle and on the coastal fringe, this is reduced to about 760mmThe average annual rainfall for England and Wales is 920mm.

5 Carlisle Case StudyIn the steep upper catchments the topography, combined with the geology, leads to fast responses to rainfall:In Kirkby Stephen, the River Eden will respond to rainfall in around 1.5 hours The time taken for rain falling on the top of Helvellyn, the highest point in the Eamont catchment, to reach Ullswater Lake is around 2 hoursIn the lower catchment, with mainly lower gradients and deeper soils, the flood responses are slower.

6 The January 2005 flood was a major event
The January 2005 flood was a major event. Rainfall was very high for the period 6 to 8 January, during which two months' worth of rainfall were released in 24 hours. However, it followed a month of high rainfall in the Carlisle area, so the ground was saturated and would no longer allow water to infiltrate, and surface run-off was excessive. The result was rapidly rising water levels in a number of rivers including the Eden.

7 Affects of the flooding

8 Carlisle Case Study

9 Carlisle Case Study

10 Carlisle Case Study

11 Carlisle Case Study Tasks
1 Annotate the hydrograph to show you understood these terms: rising limb, falling limb, peak flow rate, lag time, recessional limbRead the text: What was the hydrology of the January 2005 flood? Then add text boxes to the hydrograph with brief notes about key aspects of the flooding - use the dates on the hydrograph to help you.Using the map in the text book, use map evidence, explain the physical and human factors which may have contributed to the flooding in Carlisle. 6 marksUsing the hydrograph and your understanding of the drainage basin characteristics of the River Eden, describe and account for the flood hydrograph shown for January marks

12 Carlisle Case Study Physical Factors Human Factors
Low lying flood plain less than 20mMany tributaries joining the Eden e.g. River PetterilLack of evidence of vegetation on the map, this limits interception rates.Higher than average rainfallHigh drainage densityHuman FactorsHomes built on the floodplain (wet point site) Edentown 3957Levees along river banks may have been artificially strengthenedRecreational activities deliberately built on the floodplain e.g. golf courseImpermeable surfaces increasing surface run-off created by the urban environment of Carlisle.Sewage works at




Storm Desmond was an extratropical cyclone and the fourth named storm of the 2015–16 UK and Ireland windstorm season. Desmond directed a plume of moist air, known as an atmospheric river, which brought record amounts of rainfall to upland areas of the UK and subsequent major floods.

Thousands of homes were left flooded or left without power after Storm Desmond wreaked havoc in parts of the UK on the 5th and 6th of December 2015. In Lancashire and Cumbria more than 43,000 homes across the north of England were left without power, as well as over 2,000 homes in the Republic of Ireland and around 700 in Wales, while an estimated 5,200 homes were affected by flooding.

The storm claimed two lives – in Cumbria and the Republic of Ireland.

Record-breaking amounts of rain fell in Cumbria, the worst-hit county – prompting the county to declare a major incident. Storm Desmond deposited an unusually large amount of rain on ground already saturated by heavy rain, causing widespread flooding.

Areas Affected

Towns on the Scottish border, Carlise, Lancaster, Keswick, Braithwaite and Appleby amongst many others. Large areas have been indirectly affected due to an electricity substation becoming flooded which has left many communities without power.

Rivers affected

River Greta, River Eden, River Teviot, River Kent, River Cocker


The areas worst affected by Storm Desmond – Source BBC News


A map to show the flood risk following Storm Desmond

Cause of Floods

Desmond created an atmospheric river in its wake, bringing in moist air from the Caribbean to the British Isles. As a result, rainfall from Desmond was unusually heavy. The heavy rain and strong winds were caused by an area of low pressure which arrived on Friday from the Atlantic.

The Met Office says Honister in Cumbria received 341.4mm (13.4in) of rain in the 24-hour period from 18:30 GMT on Friday 4 December to 18:30 GMT on Saturday 5 December. This beats the previous UK record set at Seathwaite, also in Cumbria, of 316.4mm (12.4in) on 19 November 2009.

As reported in The Guardian, Storm Desmond flooding is partly due to climate change.


Storm Desmond caused an estimated £500m of damage across Cumbria – almost double the cost of the floods that hit parts of the county six years ago.

Environment Agency officials said the Cumbria flood defences did work, but no matter how substantial any defences are, “you can always get water levels higher than that, in which case it will go over the top”.

The Met Office said Storm Desmond had more impact because the “exceptional” levels of rain fell on already saturated land.

More than 1,000 people evacuated across Cumbria.

50,000 people were without power across Cumbria and Lancashire.

1,000 people have been evacuated from the Scottish border town of Hawick.

Road closures and closure of the West Coast Mainline rail route to Scotland and the Cumbrian coast rail line between Carlisle and Workington;

About 40 schools in Cumbria were closed and appointments and routine business across NHS hospitals were cancelled;

A train en route to Glasgow has been left stranded at Carlisle station overnight, with passengers having to sleep onboard.

The UK economy could be dented by as much as £3bn by damage from Storms Eva, Desmond and Frank.

Economic losses from the storms Desmond and Eva will be between £1.6bn and £2.3bn, while insured losses will hit £900m-£1.2bn.

A waterfall appeared at Malham Cove for a short time due to heavy rainfall. This had not previously happened in living memory.

According to Great Outdoors Magazine The full extent of the environmental impact of Storm Desmond is yet to be assessed, but it is likely that footpaths and walls have been washed away, ground severely eroded, vegetation destroyed and water quality affected. Large amounts of the fragile upland soils has been washed into the swollen streams, rivers and lakes and will have an impact on water quality and aquatic wildlife.

Millions of tons of sediment was transported by the river and deposited on floodplains and in settlements in the areas affected.

Thousands of trees which once lined rivers in the area affected were ripped from river banks.

Landslides occurred in many places as the result of heavy rainfall and the land becoming saturated.

Kinder Downfall waterfall in the Peak District is put in reverse by strong winds from Storm Desmond

A significant landslide occurred in along the Glenn Riding beck in the Lake District

Human response

More than 100 flood warnings and more than 70 flood alerts were in place in northern England on Saturday night, with more than 90 flood warnings and alerts in Scotland.

The Government mobilised a full national emergency response”. This included 200 military personnel and supporting assets (including a Chinook helicopter); 50 high-volume pumps; and the Environment Agency moving people, temporary defences and pumps to the north-west.

£400,000 was donated within 48 hours by the public  after a £1m appeal was launched to help people affected by flooding caused by Storm Desmond.

Following the floods the Government announced a £50m repair and renew scheme for Cumbria and Lancashire after the floods, promising businesses and homeowners they will quickly receive the help they need. The scheme was administered by local authorities.

The Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund 2015, launched by the Cumbria Community Foundation, aims to contribute to clean-up costs, emergency repairs, clothing, food and drink, heating and heating equipment, childcare equipment and basic furniture for individuals and families who already struggle financially.

The government’s Cobra committee announced the 5,000 households and businesses affected would be given council tax and business rate relief.

The government launched the Bellwin scheme to fully reimburse councils for the costs of dealing with flooding, and ministers reviewed all flood defence plans.

Meanwhile the Prince’s Countryside Fund announced it is releasing £40,000 from its Emergency Fund, to help rural communities, farmers and businesses in the north of England and Scotland recover from flood damage.

National Flood Resilience Review is taking place to better protect the country from future flooding and increasingly extreme weather events. The review will be published in summer 2016 and will be led by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Oliver Letwin. It will include input from Defra, DECC, DCLG, HMT, the Chief Executive of the Environment Agency and the Government’s Chief Scientist.

new Cumbrian Floods Partnership group has also been formed to “consider what improvements to flood defences in the region may be needed, look at upstream options for slowing key rivers to reduce the intensity of water flows at peak times and build stronger links between local residents, community groups and flood defence planning.” The Group will publish a Cumbria Action Plan in summer 2016.

Two funds were set up to to allow people to donate money to support repairing the natural environment affected by Storm Desmond. These were the Ullswater Environment Recovery Fund and Fix the Fells. You can find out more here.

Subsequent flooding

The village of Glen-ridding flooded for a second time on the 9 December. Widespread flooding was expected after heavy rains on Boxing Day as a result of Storm Eva, with the Met Office issuing a red warning for parts of Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire. The was then followed by Storm Frank which resulted in significant flooding.

Wider Reading: 

What have we done to make flooding worse? – BBC

Several teams of Royal Engineers were deployed to help in the emergency response and recovery after the floods in Cumbria and Lancashire. Reconnaissance teams from 21 and 32 Regiment of 170 Engineer Group at Chilwell conducted technical assessments on at-risk and damaged bridges. More engineers were on standby.

Around 90 troops from 2nd Battalion Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment provided assistance and took supplies to remote areas such as Patterdale and Glenridding. Around 350 personnel were available to rotate as required.


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