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Heavy rain causes flooding and traffic chaos on North Devon roads

By e_glanfield  |  Posted: November 21, 2012

  • Farson Digital Water Cams show the River Taw in Umberleigh this morning

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Flooding and surface water is causing problems on roads across North Devon today as heavy rain continues to batter the region.

A number of roads across the county are affected, with commuters facing traffic chaos and lengthy delays.

The B3137 near South Molton is currently closed in both directions due to flooding between the B3227 East Street junction and Rackenford Road, Tiverton.

There is currently flooding on the A377 at Bishops Tawton which is barely passable and is causing traffic jams in the area. Earlier this morning a car was stuck in floodwater on the same stretch of road.

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There is flooding on the A39 at Blackmoor Gate at the A399 junction.

There is also flooding on the A361 North Devon Link Road in both directions between Tiverton in Sampford Peverell and the A396 Bolham Road junction in Tiverton. Bolham Roundabout is reportedly flooded.

Devon and Cornwall Police said they had no major incidents to report but said they were receiving a large volume of calls relating to localised flooding.

Officers said they had received reports of standing water on roads which was creating a risk of drivers aquaplaning and potentially losing control of their vehicles.

At 10.45am, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service confirmed it had received 311 calls for assistance since the early hours and had attended 51 incidents. The fire service also said it was currently dealing with 110 ‘live’ incidents and had already rescued 18 vehicles which had become stuck in floodwater.

Some people took to Twitter to share news of flooding in the area.

@RachelW1986 wrote: “DRIVE CAREFULLY PEOPLE!!!! Roads are worst I've seen for a long time! Especially Lynton to Barnstaple road, Puddles everywhere! Take it easy”

@danieljowen said: "Saw some people who had tried to drive through the flooding on the A377 near Cowley. They did not make it."

Meanwhile, @RachelCarterMe posted: “Tiverton Parkway railway station properly flooded. Currently no trains to London. Possibility of coaches but nothing yet #Devon #floods.”

@SamWilson08 said: “Loads of flooding on the roads in North Devon today, stay safe people. #flooding #wetfeet #devon”

@NaomiChapmanSMM wrote: "REALLY flooded between Bishops Tawton and New Bridge. Take major care #ndevon"

And @Devoniain wrote: “Huge amounts of standing water on the North Devon roads this morning. Some impressive flooding on the A377. Be careful out there!”

The localised flooding comes on the first day of a four-day weather warning issued by the Met Office.

The Exeter-based forecaster has put a warning of heavy and persistent rain in place from today until Sunday.

The Environment Agency has also issued 57 flood warnings and 54 flood alerts for the South West.

In North Devon, a flood warning has been issued for the River Taw and riverside locations and roads between Newnham Bridge and Barnstaple, including Abbot's Marsh, Burrington, Portsmouth Arms, Umberleigh and Chapelton, the A377 and B3277 Coldridge, Chenson, Eggesford, Chawleigh, Bridge Reeve, Colleton Mills and the B3220 at Taw Bridge

Flood alerts have been issued for rivers in the Lower Torridge area, the upper Torridge area, in the Lower Taw area and on Exmoor.

Alison Baptiste, Environment Agency Flood Risk Manager, said: “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.”

Helen Rossington, forecaster with MeteoGroup said the effect of the overnight deluge was made worse by recent wet weather.

She said: “We tend to get this sort of weather in autumn, but it has fallen on to already-saturated ground which has caused the flooding.

“There was a lot of rain overnight, mostly in the Devon area, while other places have had as much as one inch.”

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service and Devon County Council highways crews continue to deal with a number of road-related flood incidents.

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

urged motorists to drive with "extreme caution".

He said: "We have again been hit by torrential rain which has caused major disruption in parts of the county so I would ask everyone to bear with us.

"Our highways teams are working flat out to re-open roads but it may take some time to get the county moving again. It would appear that the worst of the severe weather has now passed, but a number of roads may take a while to re-open.”

A spokesman for the fire service advised the public not to drive through floodwater and urged motorists to seek an alternative route where possible and consider whether the journey is necessary.

Keep checking back throughout the day for the latest updates on the roads and trains as well as the latest weather warnings and flood alerts.

Have you been affected by flooding? Get in touch or email your pictures to emma.glanfield@northcliffedigital.co.uk

Click here to view a one-day or four-day weather forecast for North Devon.

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