A warning has been issued to residents in Devon to take extra care as the county continues to suffer the effects of severe weather, with further heavy rainfall expected over the weekend.

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A band of heavy rain crossed the county yesterday evening, causing flooding and surface water problems on Devon’s road network including the A377 (Longford Bridge, Half Moon and Bishop’s Tawton), A396 Ashleigh Tip and Chitterley, and B3181 at Uffculme. Numerous trees have also fallen in the strong winds.

Some roads remained closed this morning, including the A386 between Vigo Bridge and Stony Bridge in Tavistock due to a number of fallen trees, while others are open, but passable with care.

Approximately 20 residents were evacuated from their homes on St David’s Hill, Exeter, as a precaution last night after a wall collapsed as a result of flooding. Hele Road remains closed this morning.

Temporary dams stemming the escape of water from the breached Grand Western Canal have been successful, after engineers worked overnight on Wednesday to regain control. Approximately two miles of the canal drained through a breach in its embankment late Wednesday afternoon.

With the Met Office predicting more rain for the West Country over the weekend, as well as strong winds, Devon County Council’s highways teams and emergency planners are actively monitoring the highway network and on standby to respond. The public are warned to prepare for a further risk of both surface water and river flooding during this period , as well as the potential for further fallen trees.

Environment Agency flood warnings remain on of Devon’s rivers, including the Clyst (Upper, Middle), Lowman, Torridge (Lower), Culm (Lower, Upper), Dart, Teign (Lower).

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said:

“Our Control Centre staff and those out on our highway network have been working extremely hard to deal with all of the problems thrown up by the weather.

“Teams are still clearing some roads which have been affected by flooding and fallen trees, and are tackling them as quickly as they possibly can, and are all set to continue to deal with any further incidents that are reported to us.

“We are working with our colleagues at the Met Office and the Environment Agency to monitor the weather situation, and are warning our communities to take extra care.

“Conditions have been appalling and there is still a lot of water around, combined with strong winds. Although the rain has cleared for now, I encourage people be alert to the potential for surface water and residual flooding, particularly in areas where ground is already saturated and on minor roads where problems may not be brought to our attention straight away.

“I would urge everyone across the county to be cautious when travelling, especially in the dark. Make sure you are up to date with the latest flood and weather warning information, which can be found on the Environment Agency’s website, and via the Met Office, and don’t attempt to drive through flood water, you’re putting your life at risk, and the lives of those who might have to come and rescue you.”

Met Office weather warnings for the South West are issued online here - http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/uk/sw/sw_forecast_warnings.html

Further information and advice about the weather, including the details of agencies involved in dealing with the impacts of severe weather, can be found on the Met Office website here - http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/uk/links.html

The Environment Agency flood warnings for the South West are online here - http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/34678.aspx?type=Region&term=Southwest&from=fl

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