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'Hurricane Cornwall'

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3:46pm 27th October 2013
(Updated 3:46pm 27th October 2013)

:: There is a newer article you can read with the latest information on the storm hurtling towards Cornwall here.

The Duchy is warned to batten down the hatches.

We are hours away from what could be the worst storm in twenty years careering into Cornwall.

80mph winds are expected to rip up trees and pull down power lines.

Forecasters say we have got time to prepare before the rain arrives on Sunday evening ahead of hurricane force gusts lasting into Monday.

There is an amber weather warning out and there are fears torrential rain could bring flash floods.

A spokesperson for the Met Office said: "Persistent, heavy rain is likely to set in at the end of Sunday, accompanied by strengthening winds. The public should be aware that surface water flooding may develop quite rapidly.

"A rapidly deepening low pressure system is likely to approach southwestern parts of BritaMet Office predictionin at the end of Sunday, although with some uncertainties over the timing.

"During the initial phase, heavy rainfall seems more likely to be the main issue, with surface water flooding perhaps happening quite quickly in places given the intensity of rain falling onto already wet ground, perhaps exacerbated by drains blocked by leaf and twig debris. This concern is likely to be swiftly superseded by the impact of the increasing winds.

"A very intense low pressure system is forecast to run northeastwards across the country early on Monday, bringing the potential for an exceptionally windy spell for southern parts of the UK. At the same time, persistent, heavy rain could cause some surface water flooding, while the winds will lead to some very large waves around our coasts.  

"There remains some uncertainty in the timing, intensity and track of the low. However, the public should be prepared for the risk of falling trees as well as damage to buildings and other structures, bringing disruption to transport and power supplies.

"A developing storm is expected to reach the UK later on Sunday. This is expected to run northeastwards, probably across England and Wales during Monday, with very strong winds on its southern and western flanks. There is the potential for gusts of 60-80 mph quite widely and locally over 80 mph, especially on exposed coasts, both in the southwesterly winds ahead of the low centre and west to northwesterly winds behind it.

"20 to 40 mm of rain may fall within 6 to 9 hours, leading to localised flooding, especially where drainage is impeded by wind-blown debris."

Forecaster Helen Chivers said: "The impacts from that are what are really crucial here. The trees are still in leaf, that will act like a sail. It can uproot trees, it can obviously make transport really difficult."

Paul Thomas is harbourmaster in Fowey. He said: "A number of boat owners have moved further up river to more secure waters. Really that's the message - take the opportunity now if your boat is still in the water. Make sure it's secured properly and can withstand the potentially strong gusts of wind."

Some have compared its potential to the Great Storm of 1987 and record-breaking gales in south Wales in 1989.

It will strike two weeks later than the Great Storm of 1987, which left a trail of destruction on October 15 and 16.

Veteran weatherman Michael Fish famously failed to predict its severity before it flattened trees, knocked out power and left 22 people dead in England and France.

This time he warned people to "batten down the hatches" and keep checking the forecasts as the powerful storm approaches.

Darron Burness, head of the AA's flood rescue team, said: "The timing couldn't really be worse, potentially causing significant travel disruption on Monday morning, which is one of the busiest times on the roads.

"If it's bad where you are, keep tuned to the weather and traffic reports - in case of road or bridge closures - and heed any local police advice about whether it's safe to travel.

"At a minimum, take a fully-charged mobile phone and warm, weatherproof clothing."

He said the AA's specialist flood rescue team, driving modified Land Rovers, have been working all week and are on stand-by.

You can get the latest information about flood alerts issued for rivers and information from emergency services here.

3:46pm 27th October 2013

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