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Storm force winds bring flooding to communities

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 19, 2012

  • Fore Street in Looe, which was one of the coastal towns to suffer from the storm floods. Picture: Sean Hernon

  • Waves lash the shoreline at Porthleven Picture: Mike Newman/Ocean-image.com

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Flood warnings in coastal communities across the Westcountry have been stood down as the threat from high tides backed by storm force winds subsides.

Waters again topped defences at Fowey, Looe and Mevagissey yesterday morning but caused only slight flooding, according to the Environment Agency.

Three properties in Lynmouth, North Devon, were inundated after strong north-westerly winds forced water into the harbour during high tide on Wednesday night.

And while further flooding was reported in Polzeath and Port Isaac, on the North Cornwall coast, communities escaped a repeat of Wednesday's flood when dozens of properties were hit.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said about 45 homes and businesses had been flooded in the two counties in 48 hours.

"We did quite a lot of work in preparation for these events," he said. "Our teams were already out and about and key flood defence gates were closed early to protect some of those coastal communities.

"The greatest impact has probably been felt in Looe although properties have also been affected in Mevagissey and Lynmouth. We believe there are 45 properties that have been affected over the two days."

Vulnerable communities on the coast were warned of possible flooding with the highest tides of the year being backed by strong winds, low pressure and a heavy swell.

A yellow weather alert was also issued by the Met Office up until midnight on Wednesday amid forecasts of severe gales and gusts of wind up to 60mph.

In Mevagissey, firefighters were called to the town square at about 7.30pm on Wednesday night helping to prevent flood water entering properties, and removed water from others.

The town, along with Looe, suffered more minor flooding again yesterday morning while incidents were also reported in Bideford and Exmouth.

The Environment Agency said its flood defences protected some 67,000 properties in the region and it had closed flood gates at Polperro, Padstow, Wadebridge, Plymouth, Teignmouth and Shaldon.

However, the high tide at Truro and Newlyn yesterday morning was 100mm lower than that recorded on Wednesday as conditions eased.

The tides caused major travel disruption although one Torpoint ferry was kept running through the night despite plans to suspend all crossings because of the tides.

The agency spokesman said it was "unlikely" there would be more tidal flooding.

While 27 river flood alerts have been downgraded, 12 were still in force yesterday afternoon, mostly in Somerset and Dorset, with a further 15-20mm of rain expected.

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