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Flood Misery Returns to Cornwall

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5:54pm 20th December 2012
(Updated 5:54pm 20th December 2012)

Cornwall is facing more flooding, just days before Christmas.

Homes and businesses in Altarnun, Polbathic, St Keverne, Gunwalloe, Gorran Haven and Chapel Square in Mevagissey have found themselves under water overnight.

There has been a landslip at Ponts Mill near Tywardreath.

The Environment Agency expects the River Cober in Helston to burst its banks. Fire crews at the scene have told Pirate FM the water is just inches from the top of the bank. There are more flood warnings out for the Upper River Tamar from Tamarstone to Polson Bridge, the Middle River Tamar from Greystone Bridge to Gunnislake, the Lower Tamar from Morwellham Quay to Cotehele Quay and the River Hayle from Relubbus to St Erth.
There are also eight flood alerts out for the Duchy for the Rivers Looe and Seaton, the Helford and Fal Rivers, the River Lynher, the St Austell and Par Rivers, the West Cornwall Rivers, the North Cornwall Rivers and the Fowey. You can get the latest updates here.

Diana Greene from St Blazey is flooding for the fourth time in six years. She said: "It's just the worry of it. You never know what you're going to come downstairs to in the morning. My back garden is like a paddy field. It's just not draining away. The earth is so sodden there's just nowhere for it to go.

"My front room and pathway leading to the front door are lower than the road and the road was closed off because it was flooded so you can imagine the state of my front room."

flooding December 2012The Met Office has now downgraded an amber weather warning for Cornwall to yellow, but says vigilance is still needed.

A spokesperson said: "Periods of heavy rain are expected to affect the southwest during Wednesday evening and at times well into Thursday. This additional rainfall, following the recent wet weather, means that the public should be prepared for an increased risk of both surface water and river flooding."

It is predicting up to 6cm of rain to fall in parts of Cornwall before the end of the day.

Experts say the rain will be falling onto heavily saturated ground, increasing the chances of more flooding.

Nick Roseveare from the Environment Agency said: "Our teams have been out around the clock to minimise the risks and prepare for flooding. We urge people to keep up to date with the weather forecast and remain prepared for flooding in their area by signing up to receive free flood warnings and staying away from dangerous flood water or attempting to drive through it."

Trapped in Carsstuck in floods

Drivers are being warned to take care after some got trapped in their cars after driving into flood water on back roads near Hayle, St Cleer and Bude.

Dave Owens from Cornwall Council said: "Don't go into the water. Unfortunately it has led to two significant issues near Bude. The fire service has had to use specially trained staff to do this. They had to be brought in to deal with those incidents so they were potentially hazardous conditions to be sure."

A spokesperson for Cornwall Fire and Rescue service said: "It appears the man became trapped after driving over a humpback bridge crossing the Bude Canal. The man managed to get out of his car, but as he was surrounded by fast flowing and rising water, he called the fire service for help. When firefighters arrived on the scene, the swift water rescue team reached the man and escorted him to safety."

Callers to Pirate FM have told us some roads have standing water nine inches deep. The Glynn Valley is among the worst hit.

First Great Western says lines between Newquay and Par are flooded and are warning passengers to check before they travel.

A spokesperson for the fire service said among the incidents they have been called to is a garage under water in Polbathic, near Torpoint: "Six firefighters and a Fire Officer attended a call to a garage 3 foot under water after a river had burst its banks. One appliance was required to attend this non domestic premises due to the nature of its contents, possible contaminants may have entered the river. Crews used a light portable pump and a major pump to remove water from the garage."

Overnight the centre of Porthallow was under two feet of water. Firefighter Mark lives nearby. He said: "When you get very heavy rain the stream running through the village fills up. When the water can't get away through the bridge and the grille at the end of the stream it fills up the roads and then the houses in the middle of the village."

In Stratton, a four hundred year old cottage collapsed into the road and onto a lorry after the torrential rain.

collapsed cottage at stratton - rain Dec 2012stratton cottage collapse after heavy rain Dec 2012


The council says more than 100 members of staff from Highways, Environment and Fire and Rescue services were involved in dealing with calls.

Officials say they have dealt with 60 incidents over the last 18 hours, with 50 calls received by the customer contact centre since 8am. 

The majority of these have related to surface water flooding on some roads, with other calls relating to flooding of individual properties and some minor landslips.  

As the weather now calms down the Met Office is already warning of more torrential downpours over the weekend and has issued an amber warning, that is the second highest, for Christmas Eve. 

Picture of trapped car courtesy of Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service

5:54pm 20th December 2012

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