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Bad weather causes countywide havoc

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: January 01, 2014

  • DRIVING DELUGE: Flooding in Trencreek, Newquay.

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TORRENTIAL downpours and gale force winds caused havoc for thousands of people across Cornwall over the festive period.

And there appears to be no end in sight for the bad weather, with the Met Office warning people to expect disruption throughout the start of the new year.

Just two days before Christmas more than 3,000 homes were left without power after winds of up to 70mph battered the duchy.

A spokesman from Western Power Distribution said more than 500 homes around Bodmin were cut off for a short time on Christmas Day.

"Some 571 customers were cut off after a high voltage fault but we were able to connect them within the hour," she said.

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) was inundated with calls after properties were flooded and motorists became trapped in their vehicles.

On the morning of Christmas Eve, a CFRS spokesman said: "Fire Control began receiving calls for flooding at around 9pm and up until midnight more than 100 emergency calls were answered. Flooding was experienced from Helston in the west right up to Launceston in the east."

Dozens of trees were uprooted. In Castle-an-Dinas, near St Columb Major, a large tree fell blocking the entire road just off the A30.

Those hoping for a quiet Christmas getaway were faced with long delays after trains were suspended for hours.

On Mount Wise, Newquay, a garage wall collapsed as the strong winds swept in.

Barry Lumley, 52, a retired publican who lives in one of the neighbouring flats, said: "I thought the roof had gone. We are quite exposed here with the wind coming off the Gannel."

After hearing a loud crash Mr Lumley went to check on an elderly neighbour and saw the damage.

"The wind took the wall off," he said. "It wiped the fence out. The fence runs up the outside of the building. The wall is now leaning on the side of the building."

In Calstock five families had to be evacuated from their homes on Boxing Day after a large section of road fell away outside the properties.

On Christmas Day the families on Commercial Road in Lower Kelly woke to find the road had moved and saw it shift again later in the day.

On Boxing Day they were told to evacuate because engineers feared their homes could be at risk.

Residents said the road is a dead-end and many people were effectively trapped because they couldn't drive their cars.

Heavy rain and gales continued to cause disruption over the weekend, with fallen trees blocking the A3059 near Newquay Cornwall airport and the A3058 Newquay to Summercourt road, near Kestle Mill.

A Met Office spokesman warned there could be up to 40mm of rain over New Year's Day on south-facing coasts, along with 60mph gales.

He said: "With the ground already saturated over much of this area, the public should be aware of the risk of further localised flooding."

Cornwall Council vowed to stay on top of the situation.

A spokesman said: "Crews from the council's environment service and highways contractor Cormac Solutions Ltd will continue to check that gullies, drains and trash screens in flooding hot spots are clear of debris.

"Members of the public are advised to sign up to receive free flood warnings from the Environment Agency website and check weather reports on the Met Office website."

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