North Devon hit by second round of flooding in 24 hours

Homes evacuated in Barnstaple and Braunton, trains not running and dramatic rescues in Umberleigh, Bishops Tawton and Torrington.

NORTH Devon was hit by a second round of flooding last night (Sat) which included several rescues by fire crews around the area.

In Barnstaple, hundreds of people were evacuated after the River Yeo burst its banks.

Raleigh Road was closed as water crept into the town and families used Pilton Community College as a refuge point.

In Braunton, the River Caen burst its banks for the second time and residents received early-morning door knocks from emergency services warning them they may have to evacuate.

A clean up operation is currently being organised by members of the community which will probably take place after Boxing Day.

Trains between Barnstaple Exeter have also been cancelled and will not be running before Christmas.

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The A361 and A39 have reopened, but motorists are urged to take care due to silt on the road.

In Umberleigh, three fire engines from Torrington, South Molton and the Camel Head special rescue team were sent to reports of a man, woman and child stuck in a car in fast flowing floodwater just after 12.30am.

An RNLI boat team and further fire crew were sent to the scene from Barnstaple and the RAF Search and Rescue helicopter was scrambled.

Despite the difficulty, the man and child were rescued by fire fighters in dry suits and the woman was eventually rescued by the RNLI after being swept away and clinging to a tree for 50 minutes (see video).

Also in Umberleigh, around 9.50pm, two fire engines from Chulmleigh and North Tawton and a special rescue team from Exeter were called to a man stuck in a car in fast flowing flood water.

The man was rescued from the top of his car by fire fighters near Hansford Barton.

In Bishops Tawton, two elderly women were reported trapped in their property in Sanders Lane due to the flooding at 2.30am.

The property was 50m from the road with floodwater approximately 3ft deep.

Fire crews and an RNLI rescue boat managed to bring the two women to safety, and two other people and two dogs were also rescued from a cottage nearby.

In Torrington, at the bottom of Station Hill, a fire engine from Minehead which was on standby in Barnstaple attended reports of two people stuck in a property.

Along with a boat, the two women were rescued from their surrounded property around 9.40pm.

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