PHOTOS & VIDEO: Weekend of heavy rain causes flooding and travel chaos across North Devon
North Devon is today enjoying brief respite following a weekend of torrential rain which caused chaos and disruption across the region.
Heavy and persistent downpours on Saturday and Sunday led to North Devon being virtually cut off after the main roads in and out of the area became impassable.
Emergency services were forced to close the A377 between Crediton and Exeter following severe flooding and the A361 North Devon Link Road was closed at Bolham Roundabout, near Tiverton, for the same reason.
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VIDEO: Helicopter footage taken today shows flooding in Axminster, East Devon:
Other roads which were closed over the weekend included the A39 at Parracombe, the A399 near Brayford and there were reports of flooding at Chivenor Cross.
Several smaller roads across North Devon, which were forced closed or deemed impassable due to flooding over the weekend, are now reopen although debris remains prominent in places.
A number of homes in Bishop's Tawton also suffered from the wet weather and became flooded on Sunday.
One fire engine from Barnstaple attended at around 10am and pumped water from within at least two properties in Easter Street.
Rail services and replacement bus services were also disrupted after train lines across the county flooded.
Rail replacement coaches, which are currently convoying passengers between Barnstaple and Crediton due to planned engineering works, were temporarily stopped and train services between Exeter St David’s and Tiverton Parkway remain suspended following severe flooding on the line.
The county saw the worst of the weather on Saturday with heavy rain falling for more than 12 hours on ground which was already saturated from last week when more than half a month’s average rainfall fell in eight hours.
RMB Chivenor, which is an observation point for the Met Office, recorded 66.4mm of rainfall between Tuesday, November 20 and Sunday. The strongest gust of wind recorded in North Devon this weekend was 51mph.
VIDEO: This video by the Met Office shows satellite and radar images of the rain which moved across the South West over the weekend:
The heavy rain appears to have subsided this morning, although a weather warning remains in place for much of the region until 6pm tonight.
The let-up in the wet and windy weather conditions will come as a relief to the emergency services who have been working flat-out over the weekend to deal with non-stop flood-related incidents.
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said it has dealt with more than 1,200 flood-related 999 calls over the last five days, which included rescuing several people from vehicles stuck in floodwater and helping pump water out from flooded homes across the South West. In Devon and Cornwall alone, more than 250 homes flooded with over 150 people having to be evacuated over the course of the weekend.
While conditions are improving today, highways engineers are concerned that sub-zero temperatures later in the week will further compound damage to the network.
Chris Cranston, Devon County Council's Highway Operations Control Centre Manager, said: “We're targeting most of the problems on the main road network today, before we're then able to look at making longer term repairs to areas damaged by the excessive rainfall and flooding.
“We're also prioritising communities that have become partially cut off. And we're hoping to scout our minor road network for problems.
"But with frost expected from Tuesday night, we're concerned about road conditions.
"Heavy leaf fall, wet road surfaces and ice will make driving conditions treacherous, and running water will make salting less effective.”
A flood warning remains in place today for riverside locations and roads in the lower River Torridge area including Dolton,Bideford, Taddiport, Weare Giffard,New Bridge, Beaford Bridge, Rolle Bridge, Annery Kiln, and the A386, A3124 and B3227 at Great Torrington.
Flood alerts, which warn the public to be prepared for the possibility of flooding, remain in place for the Lower Taw area, , the upper Torridge area, the rivers Caen, Bradiford Water and Yeo, coastal streams from Braunton to Combe Martin and all Exmoor rivers.
VIDEO: Footage from Devon and Cornwall's Police helicopter shows the extent of the flooding across the South West:
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