10 December 2015

Landslides triggered by Storm Desmond in the UK last weekend

Posted by dr-dave

Landslides triggered by Storm Desmond in the UK last weekend

Last weekend the UK suffered an extreme rainfall event as the fourth named storm of the winter, Storm Desmond, spun by.  This event set a new 24 hour rainfall record for the UK – 341 mm at Honister Pass – and a 48 hour rainfall record too – 405 mm at Thirlmere.  The UK has exceptionally long instrumental records for rainfall, so this was an extreme event by any account.  Unsurprisingly, the level of damage is very high, with severe flood damage across quite a large area.  In some places the floods have yet to recede, and further heavy rainfall is affecting this area as well.

Early indications are that this event has triggered substantial numbers of landslides.  The BGS Landslides twitter account ( @BGSLandslides ) has been retweeting various images of the landslides as they occur.  These landslide include another slide on the A83 at Rest and Be Thankful.  This is an old favourite, having suffered numerous debris flows in recent years.  The main channel had a flexible barrier installed a couple of years ago, which seems to have done a fine job of catching the landslide:

Storm Desmond

Landslide on the A83 at Rest and Be Thankful, courtesy of BEAR NW Trunk Roads

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Storm Desmond

Landslide on the A83 at Rest and Be Thankful, courtesy of BEAR NW Trunk Roads

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Most of the damage occurred in Cumbria though.  This is a selection of the landslides that occurred there.  One of the more damaging landslides appears to have struck a farm at Raisgill Hall:

Storm Desmond

Raisgill Hall landslide triggered by Storm Desmond, courtesy of @JRfromStrickley

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This small landslide blocked the Cumbrian Coast railway line:

Storm Desmond

Cumbrian Coast line landslide triggered by Storm Desmond, image courtesy of Network Rail

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This image shows two channelised debris flows near to Grasmere:

Storm Desmond

Channelised debris flows above Grasmere triggered by Storm Desmond, courtesy of @cumbrialivetv

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Whilst this channelised debris flow occurred at Swarth Beck:

Storm Desmond

Swarth Beck landslide triggered by Storm Desmond, courtesy of @mark_lj

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There are undoubtedly many more landslides too.  Does anyone have any more?