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VIDEO: Cornwall Prepares for 'Superstorm Saturday'

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6:01am 7th February 2014

Cornwall is preparing for what is being branded 'Superstorm Saturday.'

We are set to be lashed by more 80mph winds and towering waves.

There are fears some battered flood defences may not withstand the onslaught.

Engineers are desperately patching up parts of Penzance, Newlyn and St Mawes.

It is feared a road in Coverack could give way after part of the sea wall collapsed and there are worries about the harbours at Mullion and Porthleven.

Officials are trying to stop the iconic Kingsand Clock Tower toppling into the sea. A spokesperson for Cornwall Council said: "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. 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."

John De Fraine lives in Kingsand and ended up being treated in hospital after a wave burst through his front door as he and his son desperately tried to hold back the water: "Sam and I were bailing out behind the front door, because the water always gets in underneath. A very large door hit the front door, took the door off its hinges and knocked us back up the hall underwater.

"I've had eight stitches in the back of my head where I hit it on the way."

There is an amber weather warning for gales over the weekend and a yellow weather warning for heavy rain.

A Met Office spokesperson said: "Southerly gales will affect south facing coasts of southwest England and south Wales during Friday evening, moving east along English Channel coasts overnight into Saturday.

"After a short lull, winds will increase from the southwest during the course of Saturday with severe gales affecting coastal districts, bringing gusts of 60-70 mph and isolated 80 mph at the most exposed locations within the Amber warning area. Large waves are also expected to affect southwest facing coasts. Further inland, gusts of 50-60 mph are likely.

"The public should be prepared for disruption to transport and locally to power supplies, particularly when combined with the impacts of heavy rainfall."

You can check the latest flood alerts and warnings here...

 

Meanwhile, the Environment Agency has been accused of delaying work on flood defences on Cornwall's rail link to London.

The Daily Telegraph claims agency officials met with Network Rail last month, saying plans to protect the train line at Dawlish in Devon were put off so the impact it would have on birds could be looked at.

The track was severely damaged by storms, leaving the tracks dangling over the sea.

It is estimated the six weeks of engineering work required will cost the southwest around £20m a day.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency says it "does not recognise the description" of the meeting.

Watch the moment a cliff gives way at Lusty Glaze in Newquay here...

6:01am 7th February 2014

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