A fresh wave of “destructive” heavy rain, high winds and dangerously high tides hit the Westcountry today as forecasters warn the bad weather is likely to last for another month.
Roads have been flooded, railway lines blocked and trees downed as the latest in a series of fast-moving Atlantic fronts sweeps across Devon and Cornwall.
The Environment Agency issued five flood warnings and 25 flood alerts in the South West with around an inch (20-30mm) of rain during this morning.
As much as two inches (40-50mm) was forecast on high ground, such as Dartmoor and Exmoor, in the space of just a few hours.
The persistent rain that swept across Devon is set to return to drench New Year’s Eve revellers, with a warning of heavy rain issued for the region from 06:00 on January 1st until midnight.
The Met Office said its 30 day forecasts suggest there could be a continuation of an “inexorable succession” of low pressure fronts in January, bringing with them more stormy conditions and heavy rain.
Tonight starts dry and clear but 40mph winds and a band of potentially heavy rain is expected on New Year's Eve morning but the rain is expected to clear with sunshine and showers to follow and maximum temperatures of 7°C.
Then from New Year’s Day, storms and rain can be expected for the foreseeable future, forecasters warn. ‘There is no end in sight,’ said a Met Office spokesman.
Adding: “For as far as we can see, the wet and windy weather is here to stay.
'We are in the middle of winter, so this weather is not unusual, but there is no sign of it settling down as we go into January.’
The dire warnings prompted an intervention from David Cameron, the Prime Minister, who said he had asked the Department for Communities and Local Government to “ensure councils have robust plans in case of bad weather and flooding over New Year”.