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Flood alerts as storms sweep in to Devon and Cornwall

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 02, 2012

A lone wind surfer battles 60mph gusts of wind as stormy weather hits the south coast at Lyme Regis in Dorset. Picture: Richard Austin

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Heavy rain, strong winds, thunderstorms and risks of flooding are set to ruin the rest of half-term in the South West.

The Environment Agency and Met Office are both warning that the South West of England is of particular risk of flooding from rivers in November and December after recent heavy rainfall – and say this weekend is expected to be hit by thunder storms and yet more rain.

Paul Gainey, a spokesman for the Environment Agency, said eight flood alerts – which warn people to prepare for a risk of flooding – had been issued in the South West.

He added that those alerts could be upgraded to flood warnings – which warn that floods are expected and that immediate action is needed – in the coming hours.

He said: “We are monitoring the situation closely, and although there doesn’t appear to be anything too severe yet we are not being complacent.

“Certain places are not protected by flood defences, and we would advise people in those areas to take action to prevent their homes being flooded.

“They can protect their homes in many different ways from using sandbags to moving some items upstairs.”

Unseasonably high groundwater levels also means there is increased risk of flooding and the agencies also warn that the risk of coastal flooding also increases at this time of year.

The wettest April to June on record, and further wet weather in July, September and October, has left river levels full, the ground saturated and groundwaters in some areas exceptionally high. The Met Office warned the region to brace itself for several days of “showery” weather, with storms due to hit some coastal areas of the country over the weekend.

Forecasters said some parts of Devon and Cornwall would face “thundery showers”, chilly temperatures, and blustery winds of up to 40mph.

Other areas could be hit by localised flooding.

Parts of North Cornwall and Devon are expected to be hit by persistent rain and possibly “hail and thunder” into the weekend.

Upland areas on Dartmoor, Exmoor, and Bodmin Moor could be hit by hail storms, with swirling winds of up to 40mph.

Elsewhere, winds of between 20mph and 30mph are expected for much of the next three days, while temperatures should hover about 50F (10C) and slightly cooler on the moors and coasts.

Charlie Powell, a Met Office spokesman, said: “The forecast throughout Friday, Saturday and into Sunday is showery and changeable.

“All parts of the South West will experience showers at some point. And showers will be more frequent in the west, on north-facing coasts, and on the moors.

“But many places will have fine, decent weather.”

Weather forecasters yesterday predicted that thunder storms and lightning strikes off the west coast could move onto land in North Devon and Cornwall.

Devon and Dorset are among counties particularly at risk of flooding.

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