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Flood risk in Devon as high tides threaten coastal areas

By This is Devon  |  Posted: October 17, 2012

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High tides and strong winds have brought flooding to towns in the South West as more warnings are issued to coastal areas.

The harbour master in Looe, in south east Cornwall, said the flooding to properties close to the sea was the worst he had seen in the seven years he had been there.

Jeff Penhaligon said the water had subsided after this morning's high tide but the village was now preparing itself for the next one, at about 8pm this evening.

He said: “I’ve been back here for seven years and it’s the worst I’ve seen.

“We flood quite regularly with the tides but not normally as bad as this.

“It’s difficult to see exactly who’s been affected but I think some of businesses and restaurants near the harbour.

“It all depends whether people were able to get their storm boards up.”

Mr Penhaligon said no fishing boats had gone out today.

“You wouldn’t want to go out in this in a small boat,” he said.

There were reports of flooding in other small Cornish ports including Mevagissey.

Coastal areas across the whole of the south coast and Wales were being monitored by the Environment Agency today.

The agency said there were particular concerns for parts of Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

It said a flood warning has been issued for the Bosham area, near Chichester.

High tide was expected in Chichester Harbour early this afternoon.

The agency said: “For two hours either side there is a risk of overtopping and spray coming over coastal defences.

“Coastal roads are likely to be affected in an around Bosham and residents are being warned to remain alert.”

The flood warning in West Sussex is in force along with another 17 in the south-west of England and nine in Wales as the stormy weather continues.

Some parts of the Isle of Wight saw localised flooding of roads following heavy rainfall last night, the agency said.

Environment Agency area manager James Humphrys said: “With the high spring tides, and anticipated wind surges, our teams are working hard to ensure we are prepared and are working with our professional partners to make sure the public are aware of the risk.

“We are receiving regular weather updates from the Met Office, continuously monitoring both tidal conditions and river levels and have had officers out overnight checking flood defences and closing flood gates.

“People should be aware that there could be a lot of water in coastal areas, so avoid trying to drive or walk through any flood water and be sensible when out and about, particularly around the coast.

“Now is a good time for anyone who lives in an area vulnerable to flooding to think about the precautions they can take to protect their properties.”

Forecasters have said Wales and the south and west coasts of England are likely to experience gusts of up to 60mph.

Gemma Plumb, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said there would be gusts of 50 to 55mph throughout the day along the south west Wales coast and would reach up to 60mph in places, while in Devon and Cornwall they would be between 40 and 55mph.

The Met Office said winds were expected to increase to “gale or severe gale force” on exposed parts of the coast, which could lead to localised disruption to transport.

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