EAST DEVON IS beginning to recover now that the heavy rain has petered out and the flood waters are receding. Although 33 flood warnings remain in force across the South West, there are none in East Devon. Transport is also improving: a limited train service is operating from Exeter while conditions on the county's roads are better. And in response to the flooding, East Devon MP Hugo Swire has expressed his support and sympathy for those who have been affected…
The respite in the weather came after six days of persistent rain that left many homes flooded across the region. The Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service says it was the busiest weekend for the service in 50 years.
Provisional figures from 21-25 November show that its crews were called to deal with 869 flooding incidents out of a total of 1,357 incidents. Crews carried out 85 rescues from flooding over that period, from properties and vehicles, involving 218 people.
The service's Chief Fire Officer Lee Howell has praised operational crews and fire control staff for their response to the exceptional adverse weather conditions.
In Exeter, the 21-year-old woman – who was killed after a tree fell on a tent near Western Way – has yet to be formally identified. Police say that there's a possibility that identification will happen today. Western Way was reopened yesterday.
Limited train service
On the trains, First Great Western is still advising that passengers should only travel if their journey is necessary. Services between London Paddington and Tiverton Parkway are running. Buses are replacing train services between Tiverton Parkway and Exeter. Services between Exeter, Plymouth, Penzance and stations in between are running.
Meanwhile, a limited train service will run to Waterloo today. South West Trains says that services between London Waterloo and Exeter St Davids will run as scheduled until they reach Yeovil Junction, where a limited two hourly train timetable, supplemented by replacement buses, will run between Yeovil Junction and Exeter St Davids.
Disruption to the main line via Exeter's Cowley Bridge continues. It could be up as long as a fortnight until repairs are done.
On the roads, Devon County Council says that conditions are improving today across the county's major road network. However highways engineers are concerned that sub-zero temperatures later in the week will further compound damage to the network.
"With frost expected from Tuesday night, we're concerned about road conditions," says Chris Cranston, Devon County Council's Highway Operations Control Centre Manager.
"Heavy leaf fall, wet road surfaces and ice will make driving conditions treacherous, and running water will make salting less effective."
Support and sympathy
East Devon MP Hugo Swire has expressed his support and sympathy for those affected by the recent flooding.
"I have witnessed for myself the situation in East Devon following the recent weather. Flooding has a devastating impact on peoples' lives and my thoughts are with those that have been affected over the last few days," he says. "The Government knows from experience the devastating effect floods have on homes and businesses, and will ensure that everything is being done to help."
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