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VIDEO: Flood alert as Devon and Cornwall braced for more rain

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 04, 2013

  • Heavy rain in West Cornwall yesterday meant cars struggled through flooding on the road at Nancegollan, between Camborne and Helston Picture: Colin Higgs

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The Westcountry has been put on flood alert after torrential rain and thunderstorms brought chaos across the region.

Heavy rain swamped Devon and Cornwall yesterday – bringing flooding in major town and city centres – before another deluge overnight was expected to bring more miserable weather to the region.

Almost two thirds of a month's worth of rain (90mm) will have fallen on some parts of the South West this week by the morning rush-hour today, following another 24 hours of torrential rain.

Some 40mm (1.6 inches) of rain landed in some areas of the two counties yesterday before another 20mm was due to fall last night.

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Five flood alerts were issued on rivers yesterday after parts of South and West Devon as well as Mid Cornwall bore the brunt of the low pressure.

A yellow severe weather warning issued by the Exeter-based Met Office telling people in the South West to "be aware" of rain remains in place until 8am today.

Spokesman Lindsay Mears described the recent weather system as "unpleasant" but promised "more cheerful" conditions were on the way.

She said: "There has been quite a lot of rain in the last few days, with quite significant downpours in some areas.

"When I left the office earlier, I had to paddle through the surface water in the car park to reach my car."

Poor visibility and heavy rain did not prevent three jet skiers taking to the water off the Exmouth coast before they got into difficulties.

One of the group had to be dragged to the shore by a kite surfer, while the other two were aided after they ran aground at Pole Sands.

The coastal resort was struck by heavy downpours around lunchtime, with deep water gathering on parts of the seafront.

Plymouth was one of the worst places affected by flooding, where almost an inch (20mm) of rain fell in just two hours.

Plymouth City Council was at one stage dealing with up to 40 reports of standing flood water across the city with the torrential rain coming on the day it announced a blitz on drains to tackle flooding.

Another place disrupted by rain was Tavistock in West Devon, where Meadowlands Swimming Pool was closed after its boiler room became flooded.

Passengers faced journey disruptions after trains were delayed between Exeter St Davids and Barnstaple due to flooding at Eggesford.

Cornwall too suffered some of its worst rain in months with widespread flooding including Lostwithiel and Truro – where a business owner was forced to get down on her hands and knees to clear out a road drain in an attempt to stop her shop from flooding.

Kelly Barritt, owner of the Baby Skan Studio, said: "It happened so quickly. One minute it was pavement height and then it was coming in the front door." Fire crews were also called to pump water out of the seafront Idle Rocks Hotel in St Mawes after it was flooded.

Environment Agency staff went out to some of the worst-affected areas, where heavy downpours had overcome local drainage systems. Spokesman Mike Dunning said: "It's not been a very pleasant 48 hours with some quite intense rainfall. But after last year when we lost count of the number of flood warnings issued, we're hoping it's just a two-day glitch." The wet weather follows a drier than average September, when around 30% less rain fell last month than average.

High pressure is expected to take over today as the rain eases away, with conditions becoming largely dry by this evening and staying fine on Saturday and Sunday.

"The horrible damp humidity should clear away today, giving way to more pleasant and stable conditions over the weekend," added Ms Mears.

Flooding in Tavistock, filmed by David Wells.

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