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UPDATE: Woman dies in crash on A39 as Devon remains on flood alert

By Jon_Bayley  |  Posted: March 22, 2013

  • The silver VW Polo which was involved in the crash on the A39 this morning

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A woman has been killed in a horrific crash on a road on the border of Devon/Cornwall as the Westcountry continues to be lashed by driving rain and high winds.Emergency services were called to the A39 near to Kilkhampton at 7:15am today.The crash involved a silver VW Polo and a Ford Maverick van with early reports stating that the car and the van were left in a ditch following the collision.The driver of the Polo was declared dead at the scene by paramedics. Her next of kin have been informed but other family members are yet to be told. The woman was in her forties and was from the Bude area. The man who was driving the Ford Maverick was air-lifted to Derriford hospital in Plymouth where he is said to be stable and not thought to have life-threatening injuries. He is understood to be in his early forties and is from the Bideford area. Officers from the serious collisions investigation team have begun a detailed investigation and are carrying out work at the scene. Motorists are advised to avoid the area and follow local diversions that Highways Agency have put in place.The road is anticipated to remain closed for a further three to four hours – reopening around 5pm today. Police are keen to hear from anyone that recalls seeing a silver VW Polo, shortly before the incident – between around 7am and 7.15am that would have been travelling on the A39 heading north towards Bideford. Anyone with information is asked to call 101 and quote log 130 of 22 March 2013.This afternoon Devon remains on flood alert after heavy rain lashed the region overnight, and continues to cause problems today.The county has been hit by continuous downpours causing flooding on major and minor roads and landslips.Flood alerts for the rivers around Exeter and East Devon have been upgraded to flood warnings with "Immediate action required."Devon County Council are urging drivers to take extreme caution on the road and look out for surface water and debris.Flood warnings are currently issued for:The River Lemon from Bickington to Newton Abbot, affecting riverside locations and roads between Bickington and Newton Abbot, including Bickington, Chipley Bridge, Morley Bridge, Chercombe Bridge, Ogwell Mill and the A383.The River Dart from Buckfastleigh to Totnes, including Staverton. Affecting Staverton, and riverside locations and roads between Buckfastleigh and Totnes.River Clyst from Broadclyst to Clyst St. Mary, affecting Riverside locations and roads between Broadclyst and Clyst St. Mary, including Broadclyst, Ashclyst, Clyston Mill, Sowton Barton, Newcourt Barton, the A3052 at Clyst Honiton, and the B3181 at Broadclyst.River Axe (Lower) from Axminster to Axmouth. Affecting riverside properties and roads between Axminster and Axmouth, including Musbury, Whitford Bridge, the A3052 at Colyford and the A35 at Yarty Bridge.River Axe (Upper) from Winsham to Axminster, including Chard Junction and Weycroft. Affecting Riverside locations and roads between Winsham and Axminster, including Chard Junction, Coaxden Cottages and WeycroftAt 4:00am today the River Exe level at Exwick was measured at 1.44metres. The typical river level range for this location is between 0.00 metres and 1.06 metre.Devon Country Council are reporting the road near Ashburton Primary School has partially collapsed and teams are already on site assessing the damage, and the school closed.There have been landslips on the A383 near Bickington, Willow Park Lane in Kingskerswell and the A379 near Shaldon where there is also a fallen tree. Luscombe Hill in Dawlish has also been blocked by a fallen tree.Among the roads affected by flooding are the B3179 Clyst St George to Woodbury, A375 at Sidbury, A3052 at Newton Poppleford, Pound Lane at Uplyme and the A386 Weare Gifford.A crash on the A361 at Tiverton has left debris on the road.The road is partially blocked eastbound between the A396 Heathcoat Way junction in Tiverton and Tiverton in Sampford Peverell.Police say drivers are having to swerve to avoid debris after a silver Vauxhall Vectra crashed leaving the driver with minor neck pain.Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: “Our highways teams are working hard to deal with a number of incidents - flooding, landslips, fallen trees, and blocked roads so do expect the possibility of delays but we are trying to minimise disruption as much as possible. We would urge everyone travelling today to be aware of surface water and not to drive through floodwater. "With rain expected to continue there is the potential for more disruption, particularly as we head towards high tide at lunchtime, so motorists should drive with extreme caution and stick to the main road network where possible.”10 flood warnings remain in force, with the River Otter bursting its banks at Otterton.Two people have been rescued from cars in floodwater in separate incidents in Plymouth and fire crews are handing out sandbags after hours of heavy rain.A woman was rescued after her car cut out as she drove through flood water in Vinery Lane in Elburton, in Plymstock, at around 8:30pm last night.Firefighters said her car broke down and it took four crew members to push her out of the water.The road has was closed at the fire brigade's request and it is expected that nearby Sherford Road will be closed-off at some point given its reputation as a flooding hot spot.At 9.15pm the same team was sent to Wembury Road in Wembury where another driver had become stuck in their car in floodwater.This morning fire crews have been sent to multiple reports of flooding in Ashburton - and are handing out sandbags.There is standing water along the A38 in and around Plymouth and on the M5, making driving conditions slow, difficult and dangerous.At 9am police warned of a fuel spillage on Peverell Park Road and the Hyde Park area of Plymouth.They reported a crash at the scene which has left fuel on the road.Two fire appliances from Sidmouth were sent to reports of a person stuck in floodwater.Fire crews rescued one person stuck in their car in floodwater in Mill Street at 5:52am.Crews set to work in dry suits to rescue the person from floodwater unharmed.Up to 60mm of rain (2.4 inches) is expected across many parts of the region, equal to more than half of the average monthly rainfall in March.An entire month's worth of rain (100mm) could fall on exposed coasts and upland parts by the end of Friday.The Exeter-based Met Office has upgraded its severe weather warning to amber across vast swatches of Devon and Cornwall, telling people to 'be prepared' for heavy rain.It warned of heavy and persistent rain would continue to fall on Thursday and through most of Friday.The Environment Agency warned the heavy rain could lead to flooding in the South West.Agency spokesman Ben Johnstone said: "We strongly urge people to sign up to flood warnings on the Environment Agency website, keep a close eye on local weather forecasts and be prepared for possible flooding. We also ask that people stay safe and not try to wade or drive through any deep water."Teams are out monitoring river levels and could upgrade some of the alerts to flood warnings.Police were warning motorists in some of the worst-hit areas last night against driving, as officers dealt with a surge in call-outs.

Sgt Dave Opara, based in Plymouth, said: "I would advise motorists not to make journeys that aren't absolutely necessary. There has been a considerable amount of rainfall across the force area. There will be more to come throughout the night, so the situation is not going to get much better too soon."He said the force had received "a significant increase" in weather-related calls last night, prompting fears of further floods overnight.Persistent rain is also expected throughout the day today in Devon and Cornwall.

Do you have pictures or video of flooding in Devon? Email them to jbayley@localworld.co.uk and we'll add them to this story.

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