Storms have destroyed railway tracks between Exeter and Dawlish, forcing all lines between Exeter St Davids and Penzance to close. First Great Western announced the closure early this morning and urged people not to travel for the remainder of the day.
Leaving part of the rail track suspended in mid-air, a section of the sea wall in Dawlish was torn down by gale-force winds and huge waves. The seafront in Exmouth was closed this morning after waves crashed over the sea wall, causing salt water to surge down roads towards the town centre. 70mph gusts of wind and 20mm of rain in the South West were reported by the Met Office overnight.
Topsham saw residents stacking sandbags outside their houses on Tuesday evening to protect against dangerous flooding to their homes.
The Met Office further issued a severe weather warning for South West England at 7am this morning. With the public advised to watch out for fallen trees, 50-60mph winds and dangerously large waves, the Chief Forecaster predicts that the adverse weather will mainly affect southern counties as well northern parts of Devon and Cornwall.
Severe flood warnings have been issued by the Environment Agency. These cover Dawlish, Exmouth and other areas of South Cornwall, South Devon, Dorset and Somerset. Rain, thunder and hail are forecast as the storm moves eastward towards London.
Police in Devon and Cornwall received 300 emergency calls overnight and homes were evacuated in Torcross, Devon after waves smashed into four buildings on the sea front.
Power cuts have impacted 44,000 of Western Power Distribution’s customers and they report 5,000 homes still without any power. Working throughout the night, teams of engineers have been trying to fix high voltage faults caused by falling debris.
Jessica Knight, a second year History student, commented: ‘I have never experienced weather like this in Exeter. This morning when I was running, the wind and rain were so strong. It makes you not want to bother trekking to campus.’
Laura- Jane Tiley, News Teambookmark me