Travel chaos and thou­sands of homes left with­out power in sec­ond day of weather dis­rup­tion

Western Morning News - - Front Page - BY MARTIN FREEMAN

Thou­sands of homes were left with­out power and trav­ellers by rail, road and air suf­fered de­lays as the South West en­dured a sec­ond suc­ces­sive day of gales and heavy rain.

The En­vi­ron­ment Agency is­sued a flood warn­ing – mean­ing im­me­di­ate ac­tion re­quired – cover­ing the lower part of the River Teign be­tween Chudleigh and King­steign­ton.

There were flood alerts – mean­ing be pre­pared – on seven river sys­tems in Devon and Corn­wall. They ranged from the up­per Ta­mar and the South Devon river sys­tem to the Axe.

West­ern Power Distri­bu­tion said that at the peak of the storm yes­ter­day morn­ing, about 3,500 prop­er­ties in Devon and Corn­wall were with­out elec­tric­ity, the vast ma­jor­ity of them west of the Ta­mar.

The high­est wind speed recorded in the re­gion was a gust of 74mph, which hit St Mary’s Air­port on the Isles of Scilly, the Met Of­fice said.

Mount Bat­ten near Ply­mouth recorded 73mph and Berry Head, Tor­bay, 71mph, mak­ing the un­named weather sys­tem more damaging than Storm Diana, which hit on Wed­nes­day with speeds of up to 70mph.

The Ex­eter-based agency had warned on Wed­nes­day that the area of low pres­sure might in­ten­sify.

“It was quite a fea­ture, with some heavy rain which moved through pretty quickly, but it was not ex­cep­tional for this time of year,” said me­te­o­rol­o­gist Dean Hall.

The Ta­mar Bridge at Sal­tash was closed to high-sided ve­hi­cles and mo­tor­bikes dur­ing the morn­ing com­muter rush be­cause of the gale. Those us­ing the Tor­point Ferry also faced de­lays be­cause of speed re­stric­tions and poor weather con­di­tions.

Trains be­tween Ex­eter and Pen­zance were de­layed by up to an hour as speed re­stric­tions were im­posed due to the high winds.

The ser­vice on the ParNewquay rail branch line was sus­pended be­cause of a fallen tree. A sim­i­lar prob­lem on the line be­tween Ex­eter and Barn­sta­ple also caused dis­rup­tion.

There were numer­ous re­ports from across Devon and Corn­wall of trees com­ing down and block­ing roads. They in­cluded Manor Road in Cam­borne, on the A388 at Land­cross near Bide­ford, and at Seaton and Shute in East Devon.

Flights to and from the Isles of Scilly and Land’s End and Newquay air­ports were de­layed for the sec­ond suc­ces­sive day.

River ferry ser­vices were can­celled, in­clud­ing be­tween Teign­mouth and Shal­don, and be­tween St Mawes and Fal­mouth.

The Met Of­fice lifted a yel­low se­vere weather warn­ing for wind yes­ter­day af­ter­noon as the low-pres­sure sys­tem moved out of the re­gion.

The threat of flood­ing re­mained, how­ever, after a third day of heavy rain this week. The En­vi­ron­ment Agency urged peo­ple liv­ing within the Teign flood warn­ing area: “Re­main safe and be aware of your lo­cal sur­round­ings.”

‘The low pres­sure was quite a fea­ture, with heavy rain’ Dean Hall, Met Of­fice me­te­o­rol­o­gist

PIC­TURES: GREG MARTIN AND PENNY CROSS

Pen­zance takes a bat­ter­ing, left, and above, Ply­mouth gets a soak­ing

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