LiveMore rain Monday threatens to cause Christmas travel misery

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Summary

  • Weekend rain saturates county.
  • Disruption on trains and roads.
  • Localised flooding reported.
  • Drivers advised to take care.

2:28pm

11:00am

THE owner of Bickleigh Mills shopping centre in Tiverton said it is business as usual despite ground floor shops being flooded and the car park destroyed.

Kim Sproat said torrents of water from the nearby River Exe spilled over, destroying the three-storey car park and leaving the ground floor under a metre of water.

He said the restaurant was also flooded but more than 30 helpers worked tirelessly to sweep all the water out to make sure it is open today (December 24).

He said: “It all happened at around 2.40am on Sunday morning – there is a digger on the car park now trying to level it again but people can use the overflow car park.

“It is business as usual for the shops and restaurant but the multi-storey car park was destroyed.

“In the nine years I have been here it I have never seen it as bad but it is just one of those things and you have to get on with it.”

Devon and Somerset Fire Service said that two people were rescued from a flooded property in Bickleigh shortly after 4.30pm yesterday.

9:02am

Rail travel disruption remains on the following routes:

Newton Abbot  to Taunton 

Trains are unable to operate between Tiverton Parkway Station and Exeter St Davids and between Exeter St Davids and Newton Abbot. Therefore, services from Penzance, Plymouth, towards Bristol Temple Meads and London Paddington will terminate at Newton Abbot with limited road transport to Tiverton via Exeter St Davids..

Services from London Paddington towards Exeter St Davids and the West of England will terminate at Tiverton with limited road transport to Newton Abbot via Exeter St Davids.

There is limited road transport in operation between Tiverton and Exeter St Davids and Newton Abbot , as this is being hampered by flooded roads and only a reduced number of vehicles being available.

The line between Exeter St Davids and Tiverton is expected to remain closed unitil at least 28th December .

First Great Western, South West Trains and CrossCountry Trains will accept each others tickets on services that are operating in the West Country.

First Great Western advises customers not to attempt to travel West of Taunton in either direction with the current weather conditions.
Rail travel disruption remains on the following routes:

 

8:52am

Latest flooding update, issued by the Environment Agency:

"Communities across South West England are urged to remain vigilant, as further heavy rainfall is expected into Monday. The Met Office is forecasting a further 10mm of rain overnight for parts of Devon and Cornwall.

Heightened flood risk remains across Cornwall, Devon and Somerset. One severe flood warning - meaning danger to life - remains in place in Helston, Cornwall.

Slower responding rivers in the South East, Midlands and North East will continue to rise over the next few days.

Latest figures show that around 400 properties have flooded since Wednesday and the Environment Agency has sent over 110,000 warnings to people at risk of flooding. Flood defences have protected more than 20,000 properties across England and Wales, including 4,000 properties in Cornwall.

Our emergency teams have been working through the night to shore up defences, monitor river levels, clear blockages from watercourses and pump out flood water from towns.

If you are going away for the Christmas holidays, give yourself extra time to make your journey, check your route before travelling and avoid driving through flood water."

 

6:59am

THE rail line between Exeter St Davids and Tiverton Parkway will not re-open until Friday (December 28) at the earliest.

Replacement buses are still running between Taunton and Exeter St Davids, while a train shuttle is running between Exeter St Davids and Plymouth approximately every two hours.

Trains from Plymouth or Penzance will start at either Taunton or Bristol Temple Meads.

Trains to Plymouth or Penzanze will terminate either at Taunton or Bristol Temple Meads.

CrossCountry ticket holders may use First Great Western services to complete their journeys.

6:57am

THERE'S still widespread disruption on train services in the South-West.

Check National Rail before travelling.

9:37pm

A WOMAN was treated for exposure after being swept away by flood water when the River Taw burst its banks North Devon.

Vanessa Glover was said to be 'lucky to survive' after stepping out of her stricken Ford Ranger car as the swollen river rose around the vehicle in the early hours of this morning at Umberleigh.

A police helicopter using thermal imaging equipment found her about 200 metres away clinging to an overhanging branch where she had been holding on against the rushing water for almost an hour.

Her husband Paul and seven-year-old son where later rescued from the car in a rescue operation supported by the RNLI.  

Elsewhere in Devon, 25 people were led to safety by emergency services in Stoke Canon, Exeter, after the River Exe burst its banks.

Although flood waters were starting to recede during the day, forecasters warned that more rain could bring fresh hazards on Sunday night and into Christmas Eve.

Rail problems were set to continue as part of a junction near Cowley Bridge in Devon has crumbled away under the force of flooding.

The line is the link between London Paddington and Penzance but engineers said the problem could last for five days.

Plastic dams were used to prevent water from reaching a nearby signals box which, if flooded, could have led to several weeks of repairs.

Flooding at Cowley Bridge means trains are unable to run between Tiverton and Exeter.

9:04pm

FLOOD warnings remain in place for the following areas tonight (December 23).

River Exe:

Locations and roads between Tiverton and Exeter, including Bickleigh, Thorverton Mill, Nether Exe, Brampford Speke, Upton Pyne, the A396 and A3072 at Bickleigh and the Exeter to London Paddington railway line. Also, the Middle River Exe from Exebridge to Tiverton and the Rivers Haddeo, Batherm and Lowman

River Batherm at Bampton:

Properties around Bampton Bridge and the B3277 Brook Street and Britton Street, including New Buildings, Manor Mill and Bridge Terrace are also on alert.

Rivers Clyst and Culm, with tributaries:

Hemyock, Cullompton, Stoke Canon, Broadclyst and Clyst St Mary areas.

River levels across Devon are very high following rainfall on Saturday.

Although rain cleared the Devon area in the early hours of Sunday morning, rivers are likely to remain high throughout Sunday and into Monday.

Further showers are forecast for Sunday evening, rivers will respond quickly where showers are heavy.

The early hours of Monday are forecast to be dry but further showers are possible later on.

Anyone concerned should call Floodline on 0845 988 1188, select option 1 and enter quickdial number 04214 to get more information

3:55pm

CLICK link to view latest weather forecast for Christmas Day, issued by Met Office. Somerset mostly remaining dry but more heavy showers expected in Cornwall and parts of western Devon:

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/warnings/#?regionName=sw&tab=map&map=Warnings&zoom=7&lon=-3.69&lat=50.95&fcTime=1356177660

3:50pm

3:49pm

3:48pm

FIRE crews are still in attendance at the following flooding incidents in both Somerset and Devon.

Lower Washfield, Tiverton: Crews used a mini ejector pump to remove one foot of flood water from kitchen of property.

Bishops Tawton, Barnstaple: Crews rescued three persons from flooded property.

Broadway Shopping Centre, Plymstock: Large quantity of flood water being removed by crews from basement using mini ejector pump.

Hernaford Road, Harbertonford, Totnes: Flood water in terraced cottage. Crews using mini ejector pump to remove water and assist with salvage of property and isolating electrics.

Western Gardens, Combe Martin: Crews used 4x4 to access homes and assist residents with salvage of property.

Abbey Road, Barnstaple: Crews using a light portable pump to remove flood water from a basement boiler room within a school.

Exeter Road, Bickleigh, Tiverton: Private property. Crews using a light portable pump to remove approximately two feet of flood water from inside property.

Exeter Road, Bickleigh, Tiverton:  Major pump in use to remove flood water from public house.

Fore Street, Ivybridge: Crews assisting home owner with removal of flood water from ground floor of property.

12:48pm

A TEMPORARY dam and portable pumps have been brought in protect vital signalling equipment from flooding after the River Exe burst its banks near the railway line at Cowley Bridge in central Devon.

Fire crews from Topsham were mobilised to assist Network Rail engineers at the scene shortly after 8.30am this morning, Sunday, December 23.

The River Exe has burst its banks near to the railway and should the signalling equipment be affected it would cause considerable disruption.

Crews have errected a large volume dam and two light portable pumps and two major pumps are in use to protect the signal box.

12:44pm

THE fire service has dealt with numerous flooding incidents in Devon overnight and this morning (December 23).

Areas affected were Barnstaple, Combe Martin, Braunton, Tiverton and Totnes.

Crews used 4x4 vehicles, specialist rescue equipment and boats to rescue people from properties who were elderly or in need of medical assistance. 

High volume pumps were used to pump water out of some properties and crews assisted residents to preserve personal property.

12:35pm

Devon and Cornwall Police has said that whilst there was currently a "brief respite" from the rain, several areas of the two counties were still experiencing flooding as some river levels continued to rise.

Members of the public have been urged not to drive through flooded roads and to take extra care because of the risk of landslides and potholes.

Meanwhile the train lines between Taunton and Exeter St Davids are shut due to flooding.

12:33pm

A WOMAN is being treated for exposure to water after being swept from her car by flood water in Umberleigh near Barnstaple early this morning.

A police helicopter found the woman clinging to the branch of a tree that she had managed to cling onto. It is believed she had been there for 50 minutes before being found.

She was rescued by an RNLI lifeboat.

Elsewhere in Barnstaple a man and a child had to be rescued by firefighters.

In nearby Bishops Tawton four people and two dogs had to be rescued by a fire crew an an RNLI lifeboat, when they became trapped in two flooded houses.

10:29am

CLICK link to view flood warnings for catchment areas on River Exe, issued by the Environment Agency today, Sunday, December 23:

http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/34678.aspx?page=1&type=River&term=river%20exe

10:26am

TWO elderly women cut off by up to three feet of flood water were rescued from a house in Barnstaple.

A fire crew was sent to the scene at Sanders Lane, Bishops Tawton, near Barnstaple, around 2.30am today, Sunday, December 23.

The fire crew and a RNLI rescue boat rescued the two females and took them to safety. 

Two further persons and two dogs were also rescued from a nearby cottage.

10:21am

TRAIN travel west of Taunton has been halted due to flooding and landslips. Below is the latest statement from First Great Western on the situation today (December 23).

"Trains are unable to operate between Taunton and Plymouth. Therefore, services from Penzance, Plymouth, Exeter St Davids towards Bristol Temple Meads and London Paddington will terminate at Plymouth and start from Taunton until further notice.

Services from London Paddington towards Exeter St Davids and the West of England will terminate at Taunton and be started again from Plymouth until further notice.

A very limited road transport operation is currently in place between Taunton, Exeter St Davids and Plymouth, this is being hampered by flooded roads and only a limited number of vehicles being available.

Services between Par and Newquay are also suspended in both directions with no replacement road transport available.

Services between Exeter St Davids and Barnstaple are suspended in both directions, with no replacement road transport available.

Local Firstgroup bus services will accept First Great Western Tickets on reasonable routes.

First Great Western and Arriva Cross Country Trains will accept each others tickets on services that are operating in the West Country.

First Great Western advise customers with non-essential travel to not attempt to travel west of Taunton in either direction."

5:53pm

DOZENS of properties have been flooded in a Devon village after £1m river defences were "overwhelmed" with water.

The main road through Braunton is under several feet of water as heavy rain led to flooding across the South West.

In Cornwall, about 120 properties have been affected and the Environment Agency has issued four severe flood warnings, all in south-west England.

Some roads have been cut off and First Great Western advised train passengers not to travel.

The Met Office has an amber warning for more heavy rain across the south-west of England for Saturday and Sunday and for Devon and Cornwall on Monday.

The Environment Agency said the River Caen had breached a section of the flood defence in Braunton.

In June, when the defences were completed, the agency said the works meant flooding of the river would be reduced from a one-in-20 chance of occurring in a particular year to one-in-100.

Flood prevention walls, a flood relief culvert and the river was widened during the work.

5:23pm

FIRST Great Western has released the following statement regarding train travel disruption.

"We are experiencing flooding and landslips in the following areas:

Plymouth to Taunton -

Trains are unable to operate between Taunton and Plymouth. Therefore, services from Penzance, Plymouth, Exeter St Davids towards Bristol Temple Meads and London Paddington will terminate at Plymouth and start from Taunton until further notice.

Services from London Paddington towards Exeter St Davids and the West of England will terminate at Taunton and be started again from Plymouth until further notice.

A very limited road transport operation is currently in place between Taunton, Exeter St Davids and Plymouth, this is being hampered by flooded roads and only a limited number of vehicles being available.

Services between Par and Newquay are also suspended in both directions with no replacement road transport available.

Services between Exeter St Davids and Barnstaple are suspended in both directions, with no replacement road transport available.

Local Firstgroup bus services will accept First Great Western Tickets on reasonable routes.

First Great Western and Arriva Cross Country Trains will accept each others tickets on services that are operating in the West Country.

First Great Western advise customers with non-essential travel to not attempt to travel West of Taunton in either direction.

South Wales

Signalling problems at Cardiff Central is causing significant disruption to services in South Wales. Train Services are currently unable to operate between Newport and Cardiff Central in either direction.

The road network around Newport is currently experiencing severe disruption, which is impinging on our ability to provide road transport.

There is also flooding at Neath, which means we are unable to operate train services between Swansea and Cardiff Central.

An estimation for rectification will be provided to us by Network Rail as soon as more is known."

2:20pm

2:19pm

1:55pm

1:51pm

CLICK link for two severe weather warnings currently in place for communities on River Caen in North Devon:

http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/34678.aspx?type=Region&term=Southwest&Severity=1

1:49pm

CLICK link for latest Environment Agency weather warnings for Mid Devon communities on or near the River Exe:

http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/34678.aspx?page=1&type=Town&term=tiverton

12:21pm

11:58am

First Great Western Devon

RailLive public transport

Service suspended on First Great Western between Exeter St Davids and Barnstaple due to flooding. This line is expected to be closed until December 29.

It is not possible to provide road transport due to flooding on the roads. First Great Western are advising passengers not to travel.

Click for live travel updates.

11:38am

FIRE crews have attended to flooding incidents at the following locations so far today, Saturday, December 22:

1.41 Bretonside, Plymouth
1.57 two people in vehicle pushed to safety, Heybrook Bay, Plymouth
2.18 Colebrook inn, Colebrook Road, Colebrook, Plympton
2.39 Vicarage Lane, West Alvington, Kingsbridge
2.46 Rosewood Close, Goosewell, Plymstock
2.50 Stray Park, Yealmpton
3.03 Charles Street, Dartmouth
3.08 Coleridge Lane Cottages, Chilington, Kingsbridge
3.11 Newnham, Plympton
3.20 Bickleigh, Plymouth
3.28 Movice Street, Devonport, Plymouth
3.30 two men rescued from a car, Haye Road, Elburton, Plymstock
3.34 Waterloo Place, Kingsbridge
3.35 Kingston, Kingsbridge
3.38 woman rescued from property, Church Street, Kingsbridge
3.45 Heybrook Bay, Plymouth
4.05 Exeter Inn, Church Street, Modbury
4.23 South Huish, Kingsbridge
4.58 Potters Way, St Mary, Plympton
5.58 Chelston Meadow, Chelston, Plymstock

9:49am

SINCE 2.30am this morning, Saturday, December 22, Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue as received over 130 calls for flooding in the following areas:

Plymouth, Plymstock, Plympton, Camels Head, Greenbank, Colebrook, Ivybridge, Lee Mill, Smithaleigh, Laira, Newnham, Goosewell, Yealmpton, Holbeton, Kingsbridge, Modbury areas.

Barnstaple, Croyde, Braunton, Wrafton, Bideford areas.

Crews assisted house owners for flooding inside their properties ranging from 5 inches to 3 foot.

Please remember not to drive through flood water and dont make unecessary trips.

3:17pm

DEVON County Council highways teams and social care staff are on high alert ready to respond to potential flooding and other emergency incidents over the weekend.

With further heavy rain expected, particularly during Saturday morning, the council is warning residents to take care and remain alert to flooding.

Persistent rain earlier this week means there is an increased risk of surface water and river flooding as well as the potential for fallen trees and landslips, particularly in areas where the ground is already saturated.

Motorists are advised not to drive through flood water or fords with heightened flows because they could put their lives in danger, or the lives of others who may have to rescue them. Also the wash created through driving through flood water can have devastating effect on properties.

Driving at night in these conditions can be especially hazardous as some storm damage or floods are not readily visible.

Listen and take head of weather forecast and drive appropriate for the conditions.

Don’t drive too fast and remember increased braking distances.

Driver should also be aware that problems on minor roads may not be brought to the attention of the highways teams or the emergency services straight away, so are advised to travel carefully.

Devon County Council’s Highways Teams are working with colleagues at the Met Office and the Environment Agency to monitor the situation over the coming days, and are ready to respond to emergencies.

Met Office weather warnings for the South West are issued online here - http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/uk/sw/sw_forecast_warnings.html

Further information and advice about the weather, including the details of agencies involved in dealing with the impacts of severe weather, can be found on the Met Office website here - http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/uk/links.html

The Environment Agency flood warnings for the South West are online here - http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/34678.aspx?type=Region&term=Southwest&from=fl 

 

1:42pm

The Environment Agency is warning communities in the South West to remain vigilant and alert for flooding with heavy rain due from midnight tonight (Friday, 21 December) and into Saturday and with further rain expected Monday.
 

The Met Office is forecasting heavy rain across England and Wales over the coming days, with the heaviest rain expected to fall in Cornwall and Devon, and some parts of Somerset.

This rain will fall on saturated ground, which is expected to lead to surface water and river flooding. There could also be run-off from fields and some flooding of property and roads.
 

There could be as much as 40mm in some locations, and flood alerts and warnings are expected to be issued across most of Devon and Cornwall by early tomorrow.
Anyone travelling should take extra care as this rain might cause travel disruption.
 

Communities are being urged to keep up to date with the latest information and to stay safe, by staying away from swollen rivers and not attempting to drive through floodwater.
There are currently nine flood warnings in place but more are expected to be issued across the region later today and into tomorrow morning.
 

"This is the last weekend before Christmas, so it will be particularly busy with people travelling through the region,"said Mike Williams for the Environment Agency.

"We would urge people to take extra care when planning their journeys and be aware of the risk of flooding. Our teams have been out around the clock to minimise the risks and prepare for flooding.

"The forecast is for persistent and at times heavy rain across Devon and Cornwall and some parts of Somerset and Dorset. People need to keep up to date with the weather forecast and remain prepared for flooding in their area and stay away from dangerous flood water or attempting to drive through it."
 

Those in areas at risk should check the Environment Agency website for the latest information: www.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood and sign up for free flood warnings on the Environment Agency’s website or by calling the Environment Agency Flood Line on 0845 988 1188.
 

11:18am

9:02am

MORE heavy rain is expected to drench most of the county tomorrow (December 22).

Forecasters say Devon will get some respite from the extreme weather coniditions today, but expect more rain the lash most of the region over the weekend.

The Met Office has issued an amber warning of rain for South-West England.

5:29pm

12:47pm

10:43am

DEVON and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service has issued a warning to motorists about the dangers of driving through flood water.

A spokesman said: "Conditions could be similar to those experienced across Devon and Somerset at the end of last month, with heavy rain falling on already saturated ground.

"During one 24-hour period in November alone, fire crews in Devon and Somerset attended 51 incidents involving vehicles stuck in floodwater.

"For days after the flooding, crews were still being called to vehicles stuck in floodwater after motorists had ignored or moved road closure signs.

"Fire officers are asking residents not to drive through flood water, as they could be putting themselves or others in danger.

"Attending incidents which could be prevented may also divert fire crews from other incidents where lives are at risk."

Area Manager Alex Hanson said: “It is impossible for motorists to tell how deep water is or the condition of the ground beneath. There is a significant risk to life if motorists become stranded.

“We recommend that people do not make non-essential journeys if they live in areas prone to flooding.

“If they do see floodwater on the road, they should not attempt to drive through it but should try to find an alternative route.

"And if a road has been closed, it is for the safety of the public and closure signs should be respected.”

10:00am

9:47am

MOTORISTS are being warned to take care while driving as the county continues to experience the effects of persistent rain today (Thursday, December 20). 

All main routes remain open this morning, but there is an increased risk of both surface water and river flooding, as well as the potential for fallen trees and landslips.

Cllr Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council highways chief, said: "It is important we are alert to the potential of surface water and residual flooding this morning, particularly in areas where the ground is already saturated and on minor roads where problems may not be brought to our attention straight away.

"I would advise everyone to be cautious when travelling especially in the dark. In particular, don’t drive too fast and avoid driving through flood water.

"There are likely to be many potholes underneath surface water which present a hidden danger so drivers need to be aware of those and also of increased breaking distances.

"We are working with our colleagues at the Met Office and the Environment Agency to monitor the weather situation and are warning our communities to take extra care.

"It’s important people make sure they are up to date with the latest flood and weather warning information, which can be found on the Environment Agency’s website, and via the Met Office.

"Its also a good idea to listen to local radio stations for weather updates and the latest travel information."

Met Office weather warnings for the South West are issued online here - http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/uk/sw.

9:44am

COMMUNITIES in Devon are on flood watch today after a heavy night of rain across the county.

The Environment Agency has issued flood alerts for areas including Exmoor and parts of the River Exe.

Localised flooding has been reported and drivers are being advised to take care in the treacherous conditions.

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