Cumbria snow: Drivers rescued as power cuts continue

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Media captionAerial video showed vehicles completely buried under snowdrifts in Cumbria

Search and rescue teams led stranded motorists to safety as high winds and snowdrifts hampered efforts to reopen roads around Cumbria on Saturday.

Drivers were stuck for up to eight hours overnight and Cumbria Police said it received 1,500 calls for help.

Hundreds of homes are still without power with electricity engineers delayed by road closures.

People in the south and west of the county were advised not to travel unless it was "absolutely necessary".

Cumbria Police said some areas had seen snowdrifts of "up to 20 feet".

Dozens of motorists spent Friday night at Millom High School after they were forced to abandon their cars.

Volunteers from the Bay Search and Rescue Team led drivers to safety from the A595.

'Total whiteout'

Tony Morris was stranded in his car for eight hours as he tried to get to the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant for a meeting.

He said: "As we began to get a bit of altitude a wall of snow came down off the fell and began to slow all of the vehicles that were travelling up the A595 and eventually one of them stopped and then all of us stopped.

"There were a few moments when it was a total whiteout and you could see absolutely nothing in front of you.

"There must have been six inches of impacted snow and slush on the side of every vehicle."

Image caption A man was rescued from this car on the A595 near Bootle

Around 300 homes were still without electricity in the Carleton area on Saturday after overhead power lines were brought down.

A spokesman for Electricity North West said the weather conditions had made it "impossible" for engineers to carry out repairs.

"We are in regular contact with the residents and our engineers are on standby and as soon as the roads are cleared they will start work on repairing the faults as quickly as possible," he said.

A Cumbria Police spokeswoman said emergency services were "working relentlessly" to clear the snow.

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