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Devon "not out of the woods" yet with strong winds and heavy rain to last until Saturday

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: February 05, 2014

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The Exeter-based Met Office has said that Devon is ‘not out of the woods yet’ with more heavy rain and strong winds set to hit the region.

The Office said that there will not be time to recover from last night’s weather with heavy rain warnings issued for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Early reports suggest Friday could see the worst weather with the possibility of severe storm-force gales of up to 90mph to lash the coasts while devastating gusts of 70mph are expected inland.

Up to two inches of rain will pound flood-hit regions in a matter of hours on Friday night before yet another storm smashes into the region on Saturday.

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In a statement the Met Office’s chief meteorologist said: “Yet another rapidly deepening area of low pressure will approach the southwest later on Friday.

“A further 20-30 mm of rain is expected widely within the warning area, while 40-50 mm is possible on high ground in the southwest.

“Coming so soon after previous rainfall events, this is likely to augment the impacts.

“The public should be aware of disruption to travel from the combination of this heavy rain with the very strong winds, especially in areas where flooding has occurred recently.”

Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service is warning people to be aware of possible flooding today and tomorrow.

The Service is especially asking motorists to heed warnings not to drive through any floodwater, as it could put themselves and others at risk.

High sea levels combined with strong winds and large waves will increase the risk of coastal flooding along our coasts.

The stormy conditions could bring damaging gusts of wind of up to 80mph in coastal areas on Tuesday night and Wednesday, which could cause some disruption because of fallen trees and high waves along the coast.

Following the wettest January on record in some places, further heavy rainfall this week could cause river flooding in much of the south west of England.

Area Manager Alex Hanson said: “It is impossible to tell how deep water is or the condition of the ground beneath. Your vehicle may be swept away or become stranded. Vehicles can float away in just two feet of water.

“If you do see floodwater on the road, do not attempt to drive through it; instead try to find an alternative route. If a road has been closed, it is for the safety of the public and closure signs should be respected.”

Motorists should also be aware of the possibility of tree branches and other debris on the roads due to high winds.

The Service offers further useful advice which could help prevent accidents during heavy rainfall and flooding:

• Don’t walk on sea defences or riverbanks.

• Avoid walking or driving through flood water.

• Keep children and vulnerable people out of floodwater.

• Take care or avoid crossing bridges when water levels are high.

• Take care crossing culverts as they are dangerous when flooded.

• If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately if safe to do so and seek higher ground.

• Do not travel in heavy rain storms unless absolutely necessary. Keep an eye on weather reports on local television or listen to local radio.

• Do not attempt to walk through flooded areas. Even shallow water moving fast can sweep you off your feet and there may be hidden dangers such as open drains, damaged road surfaces, submerged debris or deep channels; these can cause serious injuries or even death.

• Do not smoke, eat or drink whilst in contact with floodwater and always wash your hands afterwards

• Following a flood in your home, make sure all electrical circuits are fully dried out and checked by an electrical engineer before switching back on can cause serious injuries or even death.

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