More rain for Torbay over Christmas

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By PGStrange | Monday, December 24, 2012, 17:58

MORE RAIN IS forecast for Torbay over Christmas, and the area remains on flood alert. The worst flooding in the region has been at Stoke Cannon, north of Exeter, at Colebrook near Plymouth and in North Devon. Christmas commuters have been struggling, with both road and rail services affected by the flooding…

The latest weather report from the Met Office suggests that Torbay will have heavy rain first thing tomorrow (Christmas Day), becoming progressively lighter during the morning. An Environment Agency flood alert for the River Dart area - including Torbay - remains in place.

Led to safety

The flooding has caused numerous problems around the region. Around 25 people were led to safety by emergency services in the village of Stoke Canon, north of Exeter, after the River Exe burst its banks.

Seven homes were evacuated overnight in the village of Colebrook, near Plymouth, while 15 people in Plympton were forced to move after the Long Brook burst its banks.

In north Devon, people in Barnstaple, Bishops Tawton, Braunton and Umberleigh were evacuated after the Rivers Yeo and Caen burst their banks.

Road and rail services affected

Christmas commuters have been struggling, with both road and rail services affected by the flooding. Trains are unable to run between Tiverton Parkway station and Exeter St Davids due to flooding at Cowley Bridge Junction. Services are unlikely to operate until Friday 28 December, with buses replacing trains. First Great Western has advised passengers not to travel in the South West.

However, the rail operator has just been able to implement a limited service between Exeter St Davids and Newton Abbot, after an earlier landslip. These services will be every two hours calling at all intermediate stations, although there will be limited capacity on the shuttle operation.

Drivers are also facing delays, with flooding and landslips. Roads affected include the A396 (Tiverton to Exeter road), the A377 (Crediton to Exeter road) and the A39 at Barnstaple.

Tough weekend

Devon County Council is encouraging all Devon residents to come together with key agencies to look at what has happened and to see if any lessons can be learnt.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Chairman of the Devon Flood Risk Management Partnership and Devon County Councillor for Highways and Transportation, said: "This has been a tough weekend, bringing misery to hundreds of residents ahead of Christmas, and my heart goes out to those families whose homes have flooded. While the mop-up operation will clearly take some time and more rain is expected over the coming week, experience from both the July and November flooding incidents shows just how important it is for the worst affected communities and key agencies to get together quickly to look at exactly what happened and see if there are lessons for the future."

DCC has lined up special drop-in meetings at Braunton, Bishop Tawton, Coombe Martin and Stoke Cannon early in the new year.

Meanwhile, the police are urging the public to stay safe and remain vigilant, even though the rainfall is expected to clear from the region eastwards today. They are advising the public to remain vigilant as potentially more heavy showers are expected during Christmas Day, especially in the evening and into Boxing Day.

The police are saying that river levels remain high, although they are generally now receding. However this could easily change as more rain falls across the region over the coming days.

Police are advising motorists to:

  • Drive safely and be aware of surface water, potholes and the potential for landslips
  • Don't be tempted to drive into flood water, even if you think you can make it to the other side
With walking a popular pursuit over the festive period, the advice from HM Coastguard is:

  • Stay away from rivers and coastal paths, which could be unstable
  • If you are walking on beaches where there are cliffs, do not walk close to the cliffs as they may pose a risk

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