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VIDEO: Race To Be Ready For Next Storm

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4:24pm 6th February 2014
(Updated 4:24pm 6th February 2014)

There is a desperate battle to shore up Cornwall's defences - ahead of the next storm.

It is after 90mph winds and massive waves smashed through sea walls and buildings.

Repairs are estimated at around £14m but there will not be enough time to complete them before the next storm sweeps in.

It is feared the Clock Tower at Kingsand could topple into the sea, while the sea wall at Mullion could breach leaving five homes at risk.

See the harbour taking a battering here...

A spokesperson for Cornwall Council said: Council staff are continuing to provide support for the areas which have been affected by the floods. The latest figures show that around 60 properties have been flooded across Cornwall over the past few days and 4 people have been provided with temporary accommodation as a result of the floods.

"Structural engineers are currently assessing the condition of the Clock Tower and the Institute at Kingsand and will then be discussing the options with the Parish Council who own the building. There are significant concerns over the stability of the building which could be further damaged by the coming storms and we are drawing up contingency plans with the local Member and parish council.  

"Other works are taking place in Seaton where staff are moving 100 tonnes of sand from the café, and at St Mawes and Penzance and Newlyn where interim works are underway. Staff have also been working with partners to assess the damage to South Quay in Penzance and following an inspection of the area, it has now been confirmed that the Gry Maritha freight ship will be able to leave for the Isles of Scilly later today.  CORMAC staff are also giving advice to the owners of the private harbours at Porthleven and Mullion. There have also been concerns over the condition of the Coverack coastal defences where the sea wall has been partially washed away, leaving a void under the road cracks on the surface. The road has been closed but there is a risk that the surface could give way if there is further washout. Crews from CORMAC are on site carrying out temporary works to try to prevent further damage.

"The Environment Agency has carried out works to remove a blockage from the outfall from Loe Bar (Helston) into the sea. A digger is currently on site and has now removed material to establish some flow, enabling a partial discharge. The agency is monitoring the situation very closely, with support from the Council. There is also pumping taking place at Wheal Jane, which is owned by the Coal Board.  This project is being supported by the Fire and Rescue service.

"Staff from Cornwall Housing have also been providing support to local people during the recent storms.  The service received 17 severe weather related out of hours calls during Tuesday and Wednesday, with advice given to a further 24 callers. 

"The repairs contact centres at Moorswater and Threemilestone also handled 501 calls yesterday, almost double the normal daily call volumes of around 270. These calls identified an additional 74 weather related repairs, with this figure expected to rise even further. 

"Since 1 January the ongoing severe weather has resulted in over 420 additional repair jobs for Cornwall Housing stock. Whilst temporary works have been carried out at all of these to ensure that the properties have been made safe, the majority will require longer term and more major permanent remedial works. This is in addition to the 530 additional jobs generated during December's storms.

"For the month of January the repairs contact centres handled 6704 calls. The normal monthly call volume is between 5000 and 5200. Cornwall Housing staff are currently assessing the strategic impact of these additional calls on their overall reapir programme."

A spokesperson for the Met Office said: "Further spells of heavy and persistent rain will affect southern parts of England and parts of south Wales from Thursday afternoon until Friday morning, and again from late Friday evening until early Saturday followed by frequent heavy showers. Gales will accompany the rain during Saturday with severe gales likely for exposed coasts in southwest England.

"The public should be aware that further disruption due to flooding is likely (or be worsened in some areas).

"Another area of low pressure will bring spells of heavy rain to southern parts of the UK during Thursday and early Friday, with 15 to 25 mm of rain falling widely and locally 40 mm in southern England and south Wales.

"A further Atlantic frontal system will bring a band of rain quickly eastwards during Friday night and early Saturday, with the heaviest rain again likely to be across parts of southern England and south Wales, followed in turn by heavy showers. Winds will also be a feature with severe gales possible around coasts in the southwest of England."

You can get the latest flood alerts and warnings here.

840 families still did not have any electricity on Thursday morning.

Western Power says it is prioritising customers off the longest or those who are vulnerable.

Engineers say most of the major faults have been fixed, meaning there are a host of low voltage faults to be tackled.

On Wednesday night members of Indian Queens Pantomime Society battled on with their pantomime by torchlight after high winds caused the power to cut out.Panto by torchlight

The lights went off just before they were due to go on stage, but with a full house booked the amateur group decided the show must go on.

One of their members rushed to a local garage to buy as many torches as they could. Meanwhile, members of the audience even went home to find their own.

Much of the first half of the show at the Victory Hall continued in the dark, with members of the cast wearing head torches, and volunteers and the audience shining flashlights towards the stage.

The government has upped its fund for the clean-up after the storms to £130 million.

Ministers are also promising an urgent review amid calls to repair Cornwall's rail link to London.

It is thought the Duchy and Devon is losing up to £2 million every day the line is left dangling above the sea at Dawlish.

Some say it should be abandoned and a replacement built further inland.

Patrick Hallgate is from Network Rail: "In terms of the business communities of Devon and Cornwall and connections to London it's absolutely the right thing to do and we've got to do it quickly so any other debate about any other alternatives is something that's far, far in the future beyond six weeks.

"If the debate turns to that then we'll have that debate at the appropriate time. All I'm bothered about at the moment is getting the railway line not just for Dawlish, but also for the wider south-west."

4:24pm 6th February 2014

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