‘Danger to life’ flood warnings have been issued for North Devon with forecasters warning of an imminent storm which could see monster waves in excess of 30ft batter the coast.
The Environment Agency has put two severe flood warnings in place for North Devon, which are the most serious kind possible and warn of a danger to life.
They have been issued for exposed parts of Ilfracombe, including Cheyne Beach, The Quay, The Strand and Broad Street, as well as the coastal areas from Clovelly to Lynmouth including Westward Ho!, Watermouth Cove and Combe Martin.
Latest forecasts suggest that the cyclonic weather front travelling south-east across the Atlantic will hit the county on Saturday.
Surf forecast website Magicseaweed said the front will be as damaging, dangerous and “similarly apocalyptic”.
The site forecasts waves of 30ft hitting every 19 seconds at the peak of the storm, adding: “We see exceptional swell coupled with moderate to gale-force westerly winds across Atlantic-facing European coasts. For the United Kingdom there are, again, legitimate reasons for concern.”
The storm has already been dubbed “Hercules Take Two”.
Several Met Office weather warnings remain in place for North Devon this weekend, with heavy rain and gale force winds expected to lash the region.
A warning of heavy rain is in place for the whole of North Devon and Torridge from 8am today until 3am.
It is joined by a severe warning of ice from 11pm tonight, which is set to last until 11am tomorrow.
A weather warning of wind then comes into effect from 6am on Saturday and lasts until 3am.
An additional severe warning of rain is then in place on Monday, from just after midnight until 6pm.
A chief forecaster at the Devon-based Met Office said around 20-30mm of rain would fall quite widely, with around 40mm on some high ground in the South West.
He said: “Another very deep area of low pressure will spread heavy rain and strong to gale force winds eastwards across the UK during Friday.
“The frontal system will clear eastwards on Friday night followed by a colder west or southwesterly airstream. This will bring a wintry mix of showers overnight and at first on Saturday.
“Winds will increase on Saturday, with gusts widely to 50 to 60mph, and locally to around 70mph in exposed parts of the west.
“Additionally, large waves could lead to over-topping along some coastlines.
“The public should be aware of these hazards.”
The latest imminent storm has already prompted local authorities to issue warnings to residents and motorists.
The NHS has urged people to take extra care as the rain and colder weather sets in.
Dr Rob Turner, board member of the eastern locality of the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “With the expected wet and cold weather expected over the next few days we would ask anyone, especially the frail and the elderly, to be extra careful when going outside.
“Every year hospital emergency departments see an increase in the number of people who have slipped, tripped or fallen because of the bad weather. Spending a day or more in hospital when you could be with your family is nobody’s idea of fun so take extra care.”
Dr Turner also reminded residents to keep their homes warm and well-stocked.
He said “We would remind people that there are alternatives to emergency departments, especially if it’s not an emergency. Coughs and colds may be easily treated at home. Pharmacies and GP surgeries will give you the advice you need, or you can call the new NHS 111 number.”