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VIDEO: Cornwall Storm Surges Hit Duchy

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8:28am 5th January 2014
(Updated 8:28am 5th January 2014)

The clear up begins in Cornwall - after what's being dubbed the "perfect storm."

Seaside towns and villages have been hit as spring tides overflowed into streets and homes, leaving some businesses beneath feet of water.

Severe flood warnings, which had been issued for the entire Cornish coast, have now been stood down.

A car has been swept into the sea at Portscatho - after getting caught in a swollen stream.

The driver managed to scramble to safety and raise the alarm at around 6.05pm on Thursday night.

At Newquay, Fistral's beach bar has partly collapsed after sea defences were undermined by the weather.

Floods shut roads in Fowey, Polzeath, Millbrook, Tresillian, Penzance and Looe, where around thirty homes and businesses found themselves underwater.

In Saltash it was lapping at the feet of the Brunel statue.

The Environment Agency is urging us to stay off the beaches and clear of the coasts.

It is worried about the combination of 70mph winds and nine metre waves. There are more high spring tides due over the next couple of days.

Julie works behind the bar at the Tywarnhayle pub in Perranporth, which is starting another clear-up.

She said: "We had water coming up through a drain in the middle of the bar, which flooded the bar. It came up through the floor, through the carpets. We have lost the carpets again - which were brand new in October.

"This is three or four times a year now, from rainwater which is collecting on the corner and coming up through our floor. Looe floodsWho's to blame we don't know but somebody needs to do something fast because you can't run a business like this."

Mark Pilcher from the Environment Agency said: "It's a big spring tide anyway and that's coupled with this surge that is being pushed by the wind and the low pressure that will potentially compromise some of the coastal defences.

"People need to think about their location. Are they close to harbours? Are they in low lying parts of the coast? Are they in areas that they remember perhaps flooded in 2008 when we had a similar situation? And make preparations. Think about all the things you've had for Christmas, all your precious things get them upstairs. Think about how to look after yourself first and your property next."

Officials at Cornwall Council's emergency response centre say levels are not currently as bad as had been feared last night.

Superintendent Chris Singer said: "Don't be tempted to enter the sea no matter how benign it may look at the point you're at. Waves are going to be ferocious. Stay well clear."

A spokesperson for Cornwall Fire and Rescue said: "As a precautionary measure acting on the weather alerts received, Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service have their water safety crews on standby at Penzance, Falmouth, St. Austell and Bude, ready to respond at short notice for any contingency."

There is a warning the bad weather, expected to return on Sunday, could disrupt people's journeys home after Christmas.

David Danning from Trelawney Garden Centre said: "They say when they built the wall it was to cope with a one in one hundred year risk. Let's hope this isn't the hundredth year.

"There will be some low lying houses in the village which I'm sure will be worried. But the problems will come if the water from the streams flowing into the river gets backed up."

The high winds and heavy sea is also prompting a safety warning. Mark Pilcher added: "You've got to be safe. We've already had what appears to be some sad news about a gentleman lost at Loe Bar and that tells us how powerful the tide can be. I know people like to go out and look at the drama of the waves but please please do not put yourself at risk. The wind will be strong the waves will be big and they will be very powerful. One mistake could be very, very serious. Please don't put yourself at risk."

Another yellow weather warning has been issued for Sunday.

A spokesperson for the Met Office said: "Outbreaks of rain, heavy at times, will affect the UK on Sunday. Quite widespread accumulations of 10-20 mm are then likely with locally in excess of 40 mm possible over some higher ground.

"This additional rainfall, following the recent wet weather, means that the public should be aware of an increased risk of both surface water and river flooding as well as disruption to transport.

"Another spell of wet and windy weather will affect the British Isles on Sunday as a new, deep depression becomes anchored over the eastern Atlantic Ocean. The associated frontal system is then expected to move eastwards across Britain, perhaps not clearing the far east and southeast until Monday morning."

You can check the latest flood alerts here

Anyone who is unsure if their property is at risk can check on the environment agency website www.environment-agency.gov.uk or call the floodline on 0845 988 1188.

For further advice on preparing for flooding visit the environment agency website www.environment-agency.gov.uk or the Cornwall Council website at www.cornwall.gov.uk/flooding


8:28am 5th January 2014

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