Flood update: Devon recovers

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By PGStrange | Tuesday, November 27, 2012, 11:10

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 Devon. Transport is also improving: a limited train service is beginning to operate from Exeter while conditions on the county's roads are better. Meanwhile West Devon Borough Council is replenishing stocks of sandbags following the floods. Empty bags can be picked up in Okehampton and Tavistock...

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.

Worst affected

One of the worst affected areas was Kennford, near Exeter, where about 30 properties were flooded, while eight properties were flooded in Colebrook, Plympton.

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 rail services

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.

Roads improving

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."

Sandbag replenishment

Meanwhile West Devon Borough Council says it's working with local communities to replenish stocks of sandbags, following the recent spate of bad weather.

The council is contacting towns and parishes across the borough to see if they need more sand or sandbags. Many communities in the borough have limited stocks of sand and sandbags for residents to collect in the event of severe flooding.

Some towns and parishes only supply empty sandbags for residents to fill themselves.

The borough council also holds a limited supply of empty sandbags at its Okehampton Customer Services Centre in St James Street and its Kilworthy Park offices in Tavistock. These are free but restricted to ten bags per household.

For more information on where to get sandbags go to the borough council's website www.westdevon.gov.uk or call 01822 813600.

Do you have photos of the flooding in your area? Email them to: paul.strange@thelocalpeople.co.uk

      

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