The RAF has been called in to drop emergency supplies in parts of Cumbria, after heavy snowfall left some communities stranded for five days.

Extreme weather left areas like Fellside, South Stainmore and Alston cut off last week, and Cumbria County Council expects it will be another 48 hours before roads are cleared fully.

A Chinook helicopter will drop food, coal, logs and electrical heating appliances to isolated parts where some people have been stuck for five days.

It comes as thousands of homes across the country have been left without water as pipes broke because of fluctuating temperatures.

Around 12,000 homes in south London were left without water for more than 24 hours, with Thames Water estimating the return by Monday afternoon. Some schools closed as they had no water.

Cumbria County Council leader Stewart Young said: We have some communities who have now been stranded for five days and we have to do all we can to ensure that they are safe and well.

Despite our very best efforts and our crews working day and night we are experiencing ongoing significant challenges in accessing some of our communities.

The depth of snow and the challenging nature of the terrain is making progress on clearing roads exceptionally slow.

As a result it is estimated that it will be at least 48 hours before we reach many more of these communities hence the need to bring in military assistance and we are very grateful for their help.

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Some parts of the UK, including Cumbria, still have a yellow weather warning for ice in place until 11am on Monday.

Wing commander Gary Lane, RAF regional liaison officer for the North West, said: The Chinook helicopter gives the partnership another dimension to be able to deliver vital supplies by air to areas that are cut off by other means.

The RAC has warned the extreme weather will lead to an assault course of potholes.

We’re expecting a plague of potholes once the snow subsides. It’s a toxic combination of ice, snow, further rain and sleet, an RAC spokesman told Sky News.

There are also warnings that the weather disruption could have cost the UK economy at least £1bn a day, as people could not get to work and spending in retail and leisure was also hit.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research said general output would fall 20%, despite the offsetting benefit of home working and the online industry, while energy production, which accounts for 8% to 10% of GDP, would be at least 20% higher.

Netting out these effects leads us to suggest that UK output is reduced by about £1bn per day, compared to normal, it said.

(c) Sky News 2018: RAF to air drop supplies to ‘isolated’ Cumbria after days of snow