Travel chaos and thousands of homes left without power in second day of weather disruption
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
Penzance takes a battering, left, and above, Plymouth gets a soaking