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VIDEO: Storm Bears Down on Cornwall

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5:02pm 27th October 2013
(Updated 5:02pm 27th October 2013)

The much anticipated hurricane force storm is due to hit Cornwall.

There had been hopes it would change direction at the last moment and avoid the Duchy.

But the Met Office says its latest computer models show it will slam into us in the early hours of tomorrow morning, with the first front of driving rain due to hit Cornwall this evening.

Forecasters have issued a yellow alert for heavy rain tonight, followed by an amber alert of hurricane force winds for tomorrow morning. 

The Environment Agency has issued Flood Alerts for the River Lynher (Rame Peninsula, Callington, Saltash, Rilla Mill, Pillaton and Landrake), the Upper River Tamar (Bude, Helebridge, Bridgerule, Canworthy Water and Yeolmbridge) and North Cornwall's rivers (Newquay, Padstow, Wadebridge and Sladesbridge, Bodmin and Camelford.) You can find the latest alerts and warnings here.

A spokesperson added: "20-40mm of rain is expected from 18:00 Sunday evening until 08:00 Monday morning. The heaviest rain is expected between 21:00 and midnight. Extremely strong winds will increase the risk of damage to trees. Debris and leaves may cause blockages to screens and road drains. Please be advised that the very strong wind may represent a risk to life. Please ensure your safety."

Martin Young, Chief Forecaster at the Met Office, said: "While this is a major storm for the UK, we don't currently expect winds to be as strong as those seen in the 'Great Storm' of 1987 or the 'Burns Day storm' of 1990.

"This weather system is typical of what we expect to see in winter but as it's coming in during autumn - when trees are in leaf - and while the ground is fairly saturated, it does pose some risks. We could see some uprooted trees or other damage from the winds and there's a chance of some surface water flooding from the rainfall - all of which could lead to some disruption."

People are advised to take precautions ahead of the storm and that travel conditions may be difficult during tomorrow morning. Delaying journeys to avoid the worst of the winds should be considered.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: "Environment Agency teams are out working to minimise river flood risk, clearing debris from streams and unblocking culverts. We will continue to closely monitor the situation ready to issue flood warnings if needed. We are supporting local authorities who will respond to any reports of surface water flooding.

"Seafronts, quaysides, jetties should be avoided due to the risk of overtopping by waves and wind blown shingle. People are advised to sign up to receive free flood warnings from the Environment Agency website, check weather reports on the Met Office website and be prepared to change travel plans."

Emergency crews have set up a "Silver Command" HQ in Truro to deal with the impact of the storm.

Newquay sergeant Regie Butler tweeted: "Bad weather often brings out muppets who put themselves at risk for 'thrill.' Please don't. Blue light teams will be busy enough."

Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Taylor, from Devon and Cornwall Police, is coordinating activities for all agencies throughout the peninsular. She said: “All agencies have been meeting regularly with the view that we are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. All agencies have reviewed and, where necessary, increased their resourcing levels in anticipation of this weather event. For example, police have more than 110 extra staff working through the night, including call handlers and 58 members of the Special Constabulary.
 
“We want to reassure the public that their safety is paramount and remains our absolute priority. If anyone is at risk or in danger they should call 999 immediately.
 
“We would also ask the public to take personal responsibility for their own safety and the safety of vulnerable neighbours as far as possible, as well as ensuring that they are prepared as they can be.
 
“We would ask the public to stay indoors if possible, stay up-to-date with the forecasts and not to venture out unless absolutely necessary. In particular we would urge people not to be tempted to put them or others at risk by heading out to coastal areas and harbours to watch the stormy seas as this is exceptionally dangerous in these weather conditions.
 
“We expect that our region will be welcoming many visitors for half-term breaks. We would urge any drivers taking a trip to Devon and Cornwall, particularly with a caravan or mobile home, to think very carefully before setting off as driving conditions are expected to be very difficult on Sunday evening through to Monday morning.
 
“We are anticipating significant travel disruption and ask people to plan ahead, add extra time for their journey and check first whether essential travel services are running. Driving conditions are expected to be very difficult due the risk of flash flooding, fallen trees and other debris. We ask drivers to slow down, take care and give other motorists plenty of space.
 
“Police and partner agencies will do everything they can to minimize any impact on the community but people should expect some disruption on Monday morning, particularly during the rush hour period.
 
“All agencies will be working hard tomorrow to help any local communities affected return to normality as soon as possible.”
 
South West Trains said it was expecting to run a "significantly reduced timetable" on Monday with "the majority of services not expected to run until at least 0800." First Great Western said its trains may run at reduced speeds.
 
There will be regular updates on Cornwall's Pirate FM and online.
 
You can check the latest weather watch pages here.
 
5:02pm 27th October 2013

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