Updated: Heavy rain and gales expected as weather warning extended

More heavy rainfall predicted as Met Office issue amber weather warning for Thursday.

FURTHER weather warnings have been issued by the Met Office for the region as North Devon is upgraded to an amber warning for tomorrow afternoon.

A yellow warning has also been put in place for Saturday and Sunday with potential of another heavy spate of rain.

The region is also expecting gales of up to 70mph in exposed areas.

The news comes as festive celebrations begin with the Barnstaple Christmas light switch on tomorrow evening (Thurs) and the Verity light switch on, on Friday.

A spokesman for the Met Office said: “A spell of very wet and very windy weather is expected to move west to east across many parts of the UK during Thursday.

“Coming so soon after the heavy rain which fell in many places on Wednesday this is likely to provoke further issues with flooding.

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“Additionally, winds will gust to 50 to 60 mph in many places, and even 70 mph in some exposed western areas.”

Flooding

A flood warning has been issued by the Environment Agency for the lower and middle River Taw.

Riverside locations and road between Taw Bridge and Barnstaple at risk include Abbot’s Marsh, Burrington, Portsmouth Arms, Umberleigh and Chapelton, the A377 and B3277 at Umberleigh, the Exeter to Barnstaple railway line, Coldridge, Chenson, Eggesford, Chawleigh, Bridge Reeve, Colleton Mills and the B3220 at Taw Bridge.

River levels are forecast to remain high throughout today.

Lower level flood alerts have also been issues for Barnstaple, Braunton, Ilfracombe and Combe Martin area, the Lower Taw area and the Lower and Upper Torridge areas.

Alison Baptiste, Environment Agency Flood Risk Manager, said: “We strongly urge people to sign up to flood warnings on the Environment Agency website, keep a close eye on local weather forecasts and be prepared for flooding.

“We also ask that people stay safe, by staying away swollen rivers and not attempting to drive through floodwater.

“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.”

Staying Safe

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service are urging motorists not to drive through floodwater and to seek an alternative route.

The service has received 311 for assistance since around 2.15am this morning, and has attended 51 incidents due to flooding across Devon and Somerset with 38 still ongoing.

The fire service is offering the following advice to motorists:

• Do not attempt to drive through flooded roads or fords. The water is often deeper than it looks and may be moving quite fast. Your vehicle may be swept away or become stranded. Vehicles can float away in just two feet of water

• If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately if safe to do so and seek higher ground.

• Do not travel in heavy rain storms unless absolutely necessary. Keep an eye on weather reports on local television or listen to local radio.

• Do not attempt to walk through flooded areas. Even shallow water moving fast can sweep you off your feet and there may be hidden dangers such as open drains, damaged road surfaces, submerged debris or deep channels; these can cause serious injuries or even death

• Children should not be allowed to play in flood water, which can become contaminated with sewerage and chemicals

• Do not smoke, eat or drink whilst in contact with floodwater and always wash your hands afterwards

• Following a flood in your home, make sure all electrical circuits are fully dried out and checked by an electrical engineer before switching back on can cause serious injuries or even death.

* Have you spotted any flooding in North Devon?

Tweet us @northdevon24, email sarah.howells@archant.co.uk with your photos or call us on 01271 345056.

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