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Heatwave ends in heavy downpours and thunderstorms

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: July 26, 2013

A manhole cover bursts open under the force of gushing rain in Plymouth on Wednesday night

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A weather warning has been issued for heavy downpours and thunderstorms with the risk of flooding in some areas of the Westcountry this weekend.

Holidaymakers preparing for a weekend break and Westcountry families enjoying their first week of the school holidays face the risk of travel disruption and localised flooding in some parts of the region, forecasters warn.

Thousands of people are preparing to set off for their summer break and head to the Westcountry this weekend, with many tourists already here.

Meanwhile, the entire North Cornish coast had been bracing itself after being put on flood alert following a tumultuous night on Wednesday in which sections of the Westcountry were hit by heavy flooding.

Rachel Vince, a forecaster for MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said the South West was at risk of thunderstorms and heavy rain.

She said: "On Saturday, pretty much the whole country will have a fine start with spells of sunshine," she said.

But, after a pleasant morning, she said thunderstorms moving in from the Continent would hit the UK, including the South West.

"By Sunday, the south-east corner of England is at risk of torrential downpours and localised flooding. The South West is also in that risk of thunderstorms."

The Met Office said that 15.6mm, or a week's worth of rain and almost a quarter of the monthly total for Devon, fell in Plymouth last night.

In Cornwall, three locations received more than half the average in the county for July, with Helston in West Cornwall experiencing 15.8mm, Cardinham 14.4mm and Camborne 12.4mm.

North Cornwall was put on flood alert yesterday morning by the Environment Agency fearful that flooding may continue but the warning was later taken down as the weather front shifted North and East.

Emergency services were called in to action across the Westcountry to respond to the sudden deluge caused by a combination of a heavy downpour falling on surfaces dried by weeks of sunshine and above average temperatures.

Plymstock fire service released two people uninjured who had become trapped in their car in floodwater on Gydnia Way, which recently underwent massive roadworks designed, in part, to end flash flooding.

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service was also kept busy, having to respond to flooding incidents in the Looe, Helston and Bodmin areas.

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