Road and rail chaos after heavy downpours
Flash floods and high winds created a Monday morning nightmare by delivering rail chaos, road closures and power cuts across the Westcountry.
The severe weather battered the region and the deluge of rain at one point meant trains were forced to back up the main line to avoid heavily flooded areas.
Meanwhile the Met Office signalled autumn was truly here by raising their weather alert from an amber warning to severe. A spokesman for the Exeter-based organisation said the region would take a further soaking with over three inches of rain expected to fall in the period up to noon today.
“The public should be prepared for an increased risk of both surface water and river flooding during this period,” he added.
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The Environment Agency issued 20 flood warnings yesterday – 15 of which were for areas in the South West.
Among the rail services to be worst hit was the Exeter to Bristol line, particularly around Tiverton Parkway, which is flanked by two valleys.
Some stricken passengers said they had to make alternative arrangements after their services were delayed.
One woman travelling to London said she had to take her car instead after delays to the service meant she would miss a business meeting.
“We are used to this, to some degree,” she said, “but it doesn’t make it any easier.”
A First Great Western spokesman said: “Due to overnight flooding in the West of England, various routes are experiencing severe disruption to service.
“Customers are advised not to travel unless necessary and if so, expect major delays. Road replacement transport is very limited as roads are suffering from the same weather conditions.”
The River Yeo was at its highest ever level – with the new record of 1.42m more than 500mm higher than normal. Somerset was battered by 60mph winds, and some places saw up to 60mm of rain.
Meanwhile in Cornwall, up to 800 homes and businesses were left without power after high winds brought down power lines.
A spokesman for Western Power said a cable came down at 4.50pm on Sunday and affected properties around Chacewater and Threemilestone on the outskirts of Truro.
Some properties were able to be connected to an alternative supply, but the spokesman said those near the breakage had to wait until yesterday afternoon for the line to be repaired.
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said they attended dozens of call-outs to flooded properties.
In the picturesque Somerset village of Wedmore, water was reported as being 3ft deep, while vehicles had to be towed free of floodwater elsewhere in the county.
Avon and Somerset Police meanwhile issued a warning, saying: “We are warning motorists to take particular care as they travel following heavy rainfall in the area.”