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Region on red alert as heavy rain causes chaos across Devon

By e_glanfield  |  Posted: July 07, 2012

  • Severe flooding in Sidbury after the River Sid bursts its banks earlier today

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Heavy rain and high winds continue to batter Devon today following a stormy night which saw flash flooding across the region.

The Met Office had initially issued an amber weather warning for the county before upgrading its severity in some areas to red status.

View more photos of flooding in Devon here.

However, at lunchtime today the Exeter-based forecasters announced the red warning had been downgraded to an amber warning again.

A spokesperson said: “The red warning that was in force for parts of Devon and West Cornwall has now been removed as the worst of the rain here has eased, although impacts of rain that has fallen continue to be significant locally.”

“The amber warning area has now been restricted to parts of Devon, Dorset and Somerset.”

The amber-graded weather warning, which warns the public to ‘be prepared’ for imminent flooding, is in place for Dartmoor, South Devon, Exeter, East Devon, Mid Devon and North Devon until 11.59pm tonight. Plymouth and parts of Cornwall remain on a yellow-graded weather warning – the lowest warning issued by the Met Office.

All emergency services across the region have been on high alert throughout the day, with resources on standby ready to dispatch where necessary.

Devon and Cornwall Police activated their Gold Control Centre and continue to deal with weather-related incidents across the two counties.

They issued a statement earlier today which read: “Due to the large amounts of rain overnight and the severe weather warning issued by the Met Office, Devon and Cornwall Police are currently dealing with several incidents of flooding across the force area.

“At this time we have the appropriate resources in place to deal with all incidents and are working in partnership with our colleagues from the Environment Agency and the Met Office to identify the areas most at risk.

“If you have vulnerable neighbours and can safely check on their welfare please do.

“We are also appealing to drivers to avoid driving through flood water which could cause your vehicle to become trapped in flood water.”


Update: 8.08pm: The number of flood warnings in the South West have reduced since earlier this morning. There is currently one severe flood warning, 31 flood warnings and 31 flood alerts in place for the South West. There are 27 warnings or alerts which have been removed in the last 24 hours.

Update: 4.19pm: There is now one severe flood warning, 42 flood warnings and 33 flood alerts in place for the South West.

There is currently a severe flood warning in place, one of only two issued in England and Wales at present, for the River Yealm.

The warning, issued by the Environment Agency, warns there is a ‘danger to life’ to people situated between Cornwood and Yealmpton after the River Yealm burst its banks. The river has reached a record high of 2.2metres.

The centre of Ivybridge flooded this morning and properties in Lee Mill and Yealmbridge were also affected. Roads affected include the A379 and B3186.

There were initial concerns the Yealm Bridge could collapse due to the adverse weather conditions, however an engineer has been to examine the bridge this morning and has confirmed it is structurally safe.

Craig Woolhouse, Head of flood incident management at the Environment Agency, said: “We would urge people to remain on alert for flooding, especially in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset.”

“We would also ask people to remember to stay away from flood water, and do not walk or drive through it, as it is often fast-moving and can contain sewage and other debris.”


Traffic is disrupted across the county, with surface water flooding affecting roads across the region.

Update: 8.04pm:

The A396 Exeter Road in Tiverton has re-opened after an earlier closure due a collapsed manhole and subsequent flooding. The road was closed in both directions between the Narrow Lane junction and the A3072 junction, with delays in the area.

The A35 in Charmouth has now re-opened following an earlier landslip and flooding incident.

Update: 4.20pm: Roads currently affected:

The A35 in Charmouth is closed in both directions between the A3052 junction and the B3165 Scott's Lane junction because of a landslip and flooding.

The B3413 Forder Valley Road in Plymouth is blocked between Forder Valley Interchange and the B3432 Novorossisk Road junction because of flooding.

Update: 1.23pm: Roads currently affected:

East Devon is suffering from a lot of localised flooding and police have confirmed it is very difficult to access areas through country lanes.

Both carriageways of the A38 at The Parkway, Plymouth, are just about passable. However, motorists are advised to approach Manadon Roundabout with care due to flooding and surface water.

Hazardous driving conditions have been reported on the A38 between Marsh Mills Roundabout and the A3121 junction because of flooding.

The A3072 in Bickleigh is blocked in both directions at the Bickleigh Bridge junction because of flooding.

It has been reported the A3052 in East Devon is closed from Sidford Crossroads towards Seaton due to flooding.


Train services across Devon have been disrupted following flooding on the tracks.

Update: 5.11pm:

Yeovil Junction Station is currently inaccessible to passengers. South West Trains say taxis will be provided to Sherborne to connect with trains.

No trains are running between Yeovil Junction and Exeter St David's.

Due to poor road conditions there is currently no replacement road transport between Yeovil Junction and Exeter St David's.

An hourly service is running between Yeovil Junction and London Waterloo.

South West Trains are advising passengers not to travel between Exeter and Yeovil unless absolutely necessary.

They advised that tickets bought for travel today will be valid tomorrow (Sunday).

South West Train passengers may use First Great Western, CrossCountry

and London Underground services on all reasonable routes and Stagecoach buses between Honiton and Exeter.

Heavy delays continue on Stagecoach bus services.

Update: 11.05am:

South West Trains, CrossCountry and First Great Western warned services between Plymouth and Exeter St David’s may be delayed up to 45 minutes due to flooding on the line at Totnes.

In East Devon, South West Trains are advising passengers not to travel between Axminster and Exeter unless absolutely necessary, following a landslip at Honiton.

An hourly service will run between Honiton and Exeter St David’s. An hourly service will also run between Axminster and London Waterloo. Minibuses will transport passengers between Honiton and Axminster. Journeys are delayed by up to 60 minutes and South West Trains’ expect the disruption to continue until approximately 4.30pm.

They advised that tickets bought for travel today will be valid tomorrow (Sunday).

Bus services provided by Stagecoach are also experiencing delays due to the weather conditions.

In a statement Stagecoach said: “We are we are currently experiencing disruptions to a limited number of services due the adverse weather conditions and our 380 service is currently not operating.”

The 380 service, between Exeter-West Hill-Ottery St Mary-Honiton-Axminster, is currently out of action.


Update: 9.02pm:

Firefighters were sent to Budleigh Salterton following a report from the police that two elderly people were stuck in their house due to floodwater.

Crews from Exmouth attended the property in Granary Lane just before 6.45pm and discovered that another property nearby was also affected.

Firefighters rescued three people from two seperate flooded properties.

Update: 5.31pm:

Fire crews have responded to more than 100 flooding-related incidents since the early hours of this morning.

Working with police, the Environment Agency and other partners, fire crews have rescued people from vehicles stuck in floodwater and from flooded properties in extremely difficult conditions.

Rescues from vehicles were made in the following locations:

• Trapped residents were evacuated from their homes at Broom Lane, Hytherleigh, Axminster

• Two people rescued from a car in floodwater at Donyatt, Ilminster

• Two people rescued from a car in floodwater under the A30 at Turk’s Head

• Two people rescued from the cab of a lorry in 4ft of floodwater under a bridge at Whitford, Colyton

• Two people rescued from floodwater at Trafalgar Way, Axminster

• Two people rescued from a car in floodwater at Yeovil Junction, Barwick, Yeovil

• One man rescued from a car in 3ft of floodwater on the A37 at Yeovil

At Willhayes Park, Axminster, an elderly man with a broken arm was rescued by firefighters with 3ft of water in his home.

In total, 20 mainly elderly residents were rescued from the street and taken initially to Axminster Fire Station.

At Yealmpton Bridge, rescue teams with powered boats were making contact with residents and three people and a dog were rescued and taken to the village hall.

Locations where flooding has affected properties include numerous parts of Axminster; Fore Street, Sidmouth; Modbury; Market Lane, Ottery St Mary; Millford Road, Sidmouth; Sparkwell; Puckington, Ilminster; Frogmore Lane, East Budleigh; East Allington; Seaton; B3168 Ilminster; Fore Street, Budleigh Salterton; Hamilton Close, Sidford; A3066 Beaminster; St Leonards Terrace, Colyton; Bittaford, Ivybridge; Vicarage Street, Colyton; Dowell Street, Honiton; Upottery, Honiton; and Otter Reach, Newton Poppleford.

Residents are reminded not to attempt to drive through floodwater or to attempt to walk through fast-flowing floodwater.

Update: 11.00am:

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said they are currently experiencing a high volume of calls for flooding incidents in Devon.

They dealt with a number of incidents between 5am and 8am this morning, including: Flooding 2ft deep in Modbury, including Broad Street; A379 impassable through floodwater; several flooded properties in Poundwell, 3ft of water in the main street; people rescued from a vehicle in flood water in Harraton, Modbury.

Properties affected by floodwater overnight and this morning include:

A bungalow in Lucas Wood had 2-3ft of water and two adults, two children, two cats and two chickens were moved to safety.

Several properties in the Kingsbridge area reported flooding including houses in; The South Pool, Beeson, Kellaton, Derby Road and Bell Cross Road.

People were evacuated from a property in Keaton Bridge, Ivybridge.

Several properties were also affected at Cadleigh, Ivybridge and Mill Leat Close, Yealmpton.

Numerous properties were affected in Yealmbridge and flooding reported at 10 properties in Yealmpton Bridge.

Water of 1ft deep was reported in Ivybridge Road, Ermington; Wiggaton, Ottery St Mary; Dallacombe, Blackawton; Newnham, Plympton; Priory Road, Tiverton; the main road between Salcombe and Kingsbridge.

Further incidents were dealt with between 8.30am and 10.20am including:

Flooding at The Street, Kilmington, Axminster; Lee Mill, Ivybridge; East Allington; Exton, Exeter; Wilhay Lane, Axminster; Victoria Terrace, Ottery St Mary; Drayford, Crediton; Bickleigh, Tiverton; Millford Road, Sidmouth; Dalditch Lane, Budleigh Salterton; Church Street, Sidbury; Bridge Street, Tiverton; Musbury Road, Axminster; Harcombe, Sidmouth; Whitford Road, Kilmington, Axminster; Mill Street, Sidmouth.

Earlier this morning, a woman also had to be rescued after two vehicles became stuck in 4ft of flood water in Feniton, East Devon.

There are reports of flooding in roads and properties at Yealmpton Bridge and flooding in the road at South Brent, just off the A38.

In Plymouth, there are reports of flooding between Camels Head and St.Budeaux - with plymouth CityBus services 13,26,29,43,A&B diverted via Ferndale Rd, North Prospect Road, Weston Mill Hill and Fletemoor Rd in both directions.

VIDEO: Flooding in Sidmouth:

Uploaded by dickyleicester1.


A spokesperson for the Met Office said: “Further heavy showers or longer periods of rain are expected during Saturday.

“Although not all places will see the heaviest of the rain, where it does fall it is likely to lead to surface water flooding and some disruption to travel.

“There remains some uncertainty in the location of the heaviest rainfall, but at this time the southwest of England looks the most likely area to be affected.”

“The public should be prepared for the likelihood of surface water flooding and some disruption to travel and outdoor activities.”

The RSPCA has urged farmers to move livestock from low-lying fields and ensure animals have access to food and shelter where possible.

Pet owners are also been reminded to keep their animals safe at all times.

Ottery St Mary - River Otter Flooding - July 2012

Have you witnessed any flooding in Devon? Have you been affected by the heavy rain? Let us know and send your pictures to emma.glanfield@northcliffedigital.co.uk.

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  • TorbayOAP  |  July 09 2012, 12:30AM

    This is a permanent change in the weather due to global warming the UK should act now and ban all fossil fuel vehicles, certainly all non essential air travel could be banned quite quickly, its just completely selfish flying abroad contributing to the destruction of the planet for future generations just for a holiday, the UK can afford to invest billions in electric car swap schemes and get nearly all the fossil fuel cars off the road, what cost can we put on the planet and the weather.

    |   -5
  • tomgreen1234  |  July 08 2012, 10:41PM

    Fantastically detailed story and some great photos. Well done.

    |   5
  • lycralady  |  July 08 2012, 11:37AM

    Great local reporting of the flooding this weekend - best source of photos so far. Good job E&E!

    |   7
  • henryblince  |  July 07 2012, 9:06PM

    HAHAHAHAHAH! and you're only the 238th person to say that today. Congratulations, you're a Borg.

    |   -8
  • sillybob  |  July 07 2012, 8:59PM

    so when does the hose pipe ban begin lol

    |   -4