Weather warning extended to weekend as heavy rain continues to batter Devon
A severe weather warning for North Devon has been extended to include the weekend.
Forecasters are predicting no let-up in the heavy rain which has been lashing down across the region over the last 24 hours.
Gale force winds of up to 70mph are expected over the next few days, as well as frequent spells of heavy rain.
The Met Office has upgraded a weather warning for today to amber-severity which will come as a blow to shoppers in Barnstaple who are preparing for the town’s annual Christmas lights switch on.
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The news comes after almost half a month’s average rainfall fell across Devon in just eight hours on Tuesday night. Up to 50mm of rain was recorded on Dartmoor overnight, while Exeter Airport received 39.2mm.
Saturated ground following a wet summer has led to localised flooding across the county. In North Devon, commuters faced traffic chaos on Wednesday morning as several roads became impassable due to flooding and surface water. Elsewhere, twelve schools across the county had to be closed due to flooding and train and bus services across the region were widely affected.
A chief forecaster at the Met Office said the public should be prepared for further localised flooding and disruption to transport services over the next few days.
He said: “An active frontal system will move eastwards during Thursday. Winds will gust to 50mph to 60mph in many places, and even 70mph in some exposed western areas.
“In addition to wind speeds, rainfall of 20-30mm is likely to occur widely with an excess of 40mm in some places. Note also that for many the rain is likely to be focused into a short period of an hour or two.
“Coming so soon after the heavy rain which fell in many places on Wednesday and given current river levels and the saturated ground, this is likely to lead to difficult travel conditions and further flooding in places.”
There may be a brief respite on Friday but more wet and windy weather is forecast for Saturday and Sunday with a weather warning in place for the whole of Devon and Cornwall throughout the weekend.
The Met Office said another deep low pressure system is expected to track northward over the UK over the weekend which would bring gales and further heavy rain to the South West.
It also predicts 20-50mm of rain to fall within 24 hours, as well as gales of 40-50mph in some inland areas and 60mph or more on exposed coasts.
Dozens of flood warnings and alerts remain in place for the South West.
In North Devon, flood warnings for the River Taw and Torridge are in full force.
Alison Baptiste, Environment Agency Flood Risk Manager, said : “Environment Agency teams have been mobilised across the country to check on flood defences, clear any river blockages and closely monitor river levels. These teams work around the clock to reduce the risk of flooding, and will be out in force over the coming days.”
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