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Devon hit by 70mph winds and heavy rain

By This is Devon  |  Posted: December 13, 2011

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Gale-force winds of up to 70mph and heavy rain began battering the Westcountry last night as a storm which had been brewing for days finally hit the region.

Forecasters said the storms over the region last night will be followed by worse weather at the end of the week.

Conditions could worsen towards Thursday and Friday as winds strengthen.

Tom Tobler, of Meteogroup, the Press Association’s weather arm, said 70mph gusts had been recorded in Devon.

He said: “Anywhere along the south coast could see gusts of up to 70mph.”

The treacherous weather was already causing disruption by the evening and the Met Office warned the wind was strong enough to cause damage.

Brittany Ferries services to and from France were also cancelled as the storms gathered pace last night.

Plymouth also woke to see the damage caused after the city was hit by some of the strongest winds recorded across the country.

The Met Office reported gusts of 63 mph at Mount Batten last night, the highest recorded across the UK when going to press, and warned this could rise to 70 mph overnight.

A huge tree was blown down across Hooe Road in Plymstock, causing police to close a section of the pass so Plymouth City Council staff could cut up and remove the timbers.

Roads were also blocked by fallen trees in Plympton.

And there was chaos during rush hour as all routes to the Tamar Bridge became jammed when the centre lane of the structure was shut.

Tamar Bridge staff said the gale force winds had caused safety issues along the stretch and all high-sided vehicles, caravans, and motorcycles were advised not to cross.

Traffic was also disrupted at Plymouth's other route to Cornwall as drivers waited for up to an hour to board ferries at Torpoint after a system failure on one vessel meant only a two-ferry service was operating.

Brittany Ferries cancelled its sailings between Plymouth and France.

The Met Office said yesterday around 60mm of rain was expected to fall between 6pm last night and the early hours of this morning with winds of Storm Force 10.

There was flooding in Ivybridge, Dartington and Ashburton - where the River Ash burst its banks.

And there was even said to be the chance of snow today on Dartmoor and strong winds once again later this week.

A yellow weather warning was issued across the whole South West until 9am this morning.

"We're asking the public to be aware as strong gusts of winds could potentially uproot trees and plants as well as damage to property," said Alison Richards, a weather forecaster at the Met Office.

The severe weather also meant Brittany Ferries cancelled some of its services to and from France.

Ms Richards assured the public that the storm would move on quickly and added the risk to people was limited as it would occur mainly overnight.

She said for the most part of today weather would be bright and breezy with wintry showers.

This would continue into tomorrow but she said another storm from the Atlantic was due on Thursday.

The Environment Agency has issued flood alerts on a number of rivers in south-west England and parts of Cornwall last night saw flooding, police said.

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