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VIDEO: Manhole covers lifted, trees felled and chaos on the roads after Devon hit by heavy rain

By This is Devon  |  Posted: October 12, 2012

  • The fallen tree and landslide on Torrs Park Road in Ilfracombe

  • The sea stained brown in Clovelly Harbour today after a bank burst in the village

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Flood alerts remain in place today after heavy rain caused traffic chaos on Westcountry roads and misery for some villagers.

Such was the force of the downpour that a torrent of red, muddy water flooded cottages in the North Devon fishing village of Clovelly after a bank near Victoria Fountain burst.

The historic village famed for its sloping, cobbled streets suddenly saw water gush down from the top of the high street, trapping some residents in their homes.

Environment Agency chiefs yesterday issued 17 flood alerts across Devon and Cornwall while the Met Office also sent out a yellow warning of heavy rain and localised flooding in parts of Devon.

Torrential rain struck during early morning rush-hour in parts of Devon, causing misery for motorists and others.

In one incident, a farm worker had to be rescued by helicopter yesterday afternoon after his tractor became stuck in fast flowing flood water.

The man, who was working at Woolfardisworthy, near Bideford, in North Devon, raised the alarm just before 3.30pm.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service sent a fire engine from Hartland along with the special rescue team from Barnstaple.

While firefighters tried to locate the worker, Devon and Cornwall Police had alerted the search and rescue helicopter from Chivenor. The man was winched to safety at about 4.30pm.

The drama pn the roads began early as rush-hour traffic filled Devon's major routes, along with heavy rain fall.

Police and emergency services have been stretched after having to attend to a string of crashes, mainly along the A38 and M5 at Exeter.

Standing water on the A38 at Kennford caused flooding on the inside lane where the A30 merges, forcing drivers to stop or go around the water, said police.

Highways Agency staff were called to clear the flood.

Standing water on the A38 at Kennford caused flooding on the inside lane where the A30 merges.

Drivers were forced to stop or go around the water, said police.

Highways Agency staff were called to clear the flood.

Surface water on the A3015 Honiton Road in Exeter around the Moor Lane junction caused manhole covers to lift up which flooded the road with water and sewage.

Police also reported a 3ft squared section of tarmac being lifted two inches by water on the junction of Warwick Road and Honiton Road.

Buses heading along Honiton Road were diverted along Sweetbriar Lane in Holcombe.

At 9.30am on the M5 a car rolled over and landed back on its wheels facing the wrong way on the hard shoulder.

The crash occurred on the inside lane between junction 28 and 29 northbound.

The female driver was not injured and was out of the car when police arrived.

Highways Agency staff were called and the car was recovered by 11.05am.

At 9.50am along the same section of motorway a dramatic crash ended in a miracle.

A van aquaplaned where the A38 merges with the M5 and rolled over twice landing back on its wheels.

A police spokeswoman said: "The van was left facing the wrong way on the grass bank on the inside lane but the driver was unhurt.

"A driver who witnessed the crash said the van suffered minor damage and the driver drove off in seemingly fine condition," she added.

In the same area at 10:45am a Peugeot 106 aquaplaned, spun and hit the central reservation.

Paramedics and the Highways Agency arrived to find the female driver bruised and shaken but not seriously injured.

On the A30 near Sourton a four-wheel-drive vehicle crashed into the central reservation partially blocking one lane of the carriageway.

Police were called to the scene 3/4 of a mile from the turn off to the A386 at Tavistock at 10:55am.

The driver of the Ford Ranger pick-up was not injured, say police.

Roads in and around Plymouth were blocked by flooding after a night of heavy rain.

Kings Road was flooded and parts of the route are still impassable for traffic.

In Ilfracombe, North Devon, Torrs Park was closed due to a landslip and a fallen tree at the junction with Upper Torrs.

Hugh Griffith, Highways Control Centre Manager for Devon County Council, wrote on Twitter this morning: “Torrs Park Road closed in Ilfracombe, large bank collapse with large tree now a danger. A tree surgeon will look at it today @devonroads.”

Elsewhere, the A386 at South Hill, approximately one mile from Torrington, is blocked due to a fallen tree across one lane of the road.

There are also reports of surface water in Bideford on A386 between Bideford Long Bridge and Great Torrington.

In Tiverton on A361 the carriageway is flooded and only just passable in both directions near Gornhay Cross.

The A396 between Tiverton and Bickleigh is also flooded but passable.

The A379 Bridge Road in Exeter was partially blocked in both directions between Matford roundabout and the Glasshouse Lane junction, because of flooding.

Police have advised motorists to take extra care on Devon's roads as surface water and localised flooding continues throughout the morning.

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning of heavy rain and localised flooding set to last until 8pm tonight.

The Environment Agency has a number of flood alerts active in the South West.

VIDEO: Flooding on Honiton Road, near Rifford Road, this morning.

The fire service received a call from a man in the Woolsery area of Bideford at 3pm who was trapped in fast flowing flood water on his tractor.

Police had also received a call regarding the same incident.

One fire crew from Hartland was sent, along with the special rescue team from Barnstaple.

Whilst efforts were made to locate the farmworker on his tractor, police had liaised with RAF Chivenor and deployed the helicopter for his rescue.

The farm worker was rescued by helicopter at approx 4.30pm.

In Clovelly the sea was stained brown today after a bank burst sending a torrent of muddy water pouring down the village's famous cobbled street.

Sue Haworth, from Clovelly Estates, said some people were unable to leave their houses and others could not get back to their homes after the water began gushing down the street towards the harbour.

The video footage above, taken by resident Ellie Jarvis, shows water pouring through a hole in a wall near the Victorian Fountain, near the top of the steep cobbled street that runs through the picture postcard fishing village.

Several First Great Western train services were also affected by the weather. On Twitter, the rail company said: "Due to flooding between Crediton and Barnstaple train services running through these stations may be cancelled or delayed by up to 20 mins."

Stations affected include; Newton St Cyres, Crediton, Yeoford, Copplestone, Morchard Road, Lapford, Eggesford, Kings Nympton, Portsmouth Arms, Umberleigh, Chapelton and Barnstaple.

A spokesperson for National Rail said replacement buses would be in action until further notice.

Train services between Exeter St Davids and Barnstaple have been suspended due to flooding on the line at Crediton.

Replacement buses are currently conveying passengers after all trains were stopped at around 1pm.

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