http://www.timesonline.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00464/articleplayer_19025_464923a.swf?videoid=51706348001

‘Rain like this happens once every 1,000 years’

Steve Bird and Lindsay McIntosh

The full and devastating impact of England’s worst recorded day of rain was still emerging last night as tributes were paid to a policeman swept away by floodwaters while trying to save others.

PC Bill Barker was helping motorists stranded on a bridge over the Derwent in the Cumbrian town of Workington when it collapsed. His body was discovered hours later on a nearby beach.

The Environment Agency said that the flooding across the region was so severe that such an event was likely to happen only once in 1,000 years. The rainfall, on to an already saturated terrain, was the highest level measured in England since records began. Meteorologists recorded 314mm (12in) of rain in 24 hours and flood warnings remained in place across the North West of England, parts of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The bridge from which PC Barker fell to his death was one of at least four to be washed away. Cumbria County Council issued a warning to motorists and pedestrians to avoid using such crossings as they could be extremely dangerous. Hundreds of homes and businesses were evacuated, many of them ruined by floodwater and mud.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article6926363.ece