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Cornwall's Weather Warning

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9:52am 13th November 2014
(Updated 9:52am 13th November 2014)

Cornwall is in the eye of another storm.

An amber weather warning for gales of up to 75mph is in force until 2 o'clock this afternoon.

The Met Office is also warning of spells of heavy rain. Forecasters say up to 20mm could fall in some parts of the Duchy and cause flooding.

A spokesperson says: "Southerly gales are expected to affect the warning area during Thursday as  a small low pressure centre moves north generating an area of severe gales within its circulation. Gusts of 50-60 mph are possible inland and as much as 75 mph along exposed coasts. A short spell of heavy rain, is also likely in these western areas during Thursday.

"The public should be aware of the risk of some disruption, chiefly from the wind with a lower risk of surface water flooding.

"This is an update to the earlier dual wind and rain warning to become a wind warning only as this element could produce medium impacts and it should be viewed alongside the recently issued Amber warning."

The Chief Forecaster added: "A small but active depression will move quickly northwards during Thursday, bringing a short-lived period of gales and severe gales, particularly in areas exposed to the south. The region of strongest gusts will progress from the southwest of England during the morning, through areas adjoining the Irish Sea in the afternoon, before clearing from southwest Scotland in the early evening. There will also be spells of rain, some heavy, giving 5-10 mm fairly widely and locally 20 mm."

There are no flood alerts in place but you can check the latest information from the Environment Agency here.

It is prompting calls to take care on the Duchy's roads and not to drive through flood water.

A campaign called Turn Around Don't Drown has launched to make us aware of the dangers.Campaign Coordinator, Fire Fighter Andy Reynolds, said: "Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service saw a 400% increase in flood calls in 2012/13 affecting large parts of the county, we hope that this campaign will raise awareness of the dangers encountered when driving or walking in floodwater."

Tamsin Ferris, Road Safety Officer for Cornwall Council said: "We are very pleased to be involved in this worthwhile campaign, surface and flood water can pose a serious road safety risk. I would encourage drivers to ensure they adjust their driving according to the conditions, always making sure their lights are on and they slow down in bad weather."

Des Tidbury the chair of Safer Cornwall Partnership added: "Turn Around Don’t Drown aims to highlight the important role that Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service play in maintaining public safety in a flood situation, through this campaign we hope that drivers will become more aware of the dangers of entering flood water when they don’t know the depth of the water, or the condition of the road below. This partnership approach will raise awareness and demonstrate that we are all working together to tackle road safety issues in Cornwall."

Geoff Brown Cornwall Council Cabinet Member for Homes and Communities said: "With the regular wet weather we are experiencing this winter, I would urge drivers to take notice of this timely campaign and adjust their driving behaviour accordingly, to ensure they make it safely to their destination."

Tips on how to stay safe driving in extreme weather:

Before setting off:

1. Consider whether your journey is essential. If not, can it be delayed until after the rain has subsided?
2. Plan your journey in advance, taking care to avoid areas which are prone to flooding, and factoring in extra time to allow for slower speeds and potential congestion
3. Let relatives and friends know your intended route and expected time of arrival and where possible, travel with others
4. Check that your windscreen wiper blades are fully functional. If both front and back blades are not up to scratch, get them replaced
5. Make sure you fill up. Using your lights and heaters and being caught in traffic use more fuel than driving in normal conditions
6. Carry a mobile phone in case you encounter any difficulties during your journey

On the road:

1. Use dipped headlights so that other drivers can see you more easily
2. Don’t use rear fog lights. They can mask your brake lights and dazzle drivers behind you
3. Reduce your speed and leave more space between you and the vehicle in front to account for greater stopping distances and remember the two-second rule
4. Look out for large or fast-moving vehicles creating spray which reduces visibility
5. Listen out for local news bulletins to keep up-to-date with road closures, flooding and forecasts
6. If you break down in torrential rain keep the bonnet closed while waiting for help to arrive, to avoid the electrical system getting soaked
7. Driving too fast through standing water could lead to tyres losing contact with the road.  If your steering suddenly feels light you could be aquaplaning. To regain grip, ease off the accelerator, do not brake and allow your speed to reduce until you gain full control of the steering again
8. Driving fast through deep water can cause serious and expensive damage
9. Be considerate to other road users and try not to spray pedestrians and cyclists as you drive through water

Driving In Flooded Areas:

1. Do not attempt to drive through water if you are unsure of the depth, the edge of the kerb is a good indicator
2. If you do go through water, drive on the highest section of the road
3. Drive steadily and slowly so as not to create a bow wave in front of the vehicle and allow oncoming traffic to pass first - make sure you have a clear route ahead so you do not have to stop in standing water
4. Driving at speed may be dangerous to other vehicles or pedestrians and could cause loss of control
5. Drive a safe distance from the vehicle in front
6. Never attempt to drive through fast flowing water, you could easily get swept away
7. Test your brakes after leaving flood water
8. If your engine cuts out after driving through deep water, do not attempt to restart as engine damage may occur, instead call for assistance and have the vehicle professionally examined.

9:52am 13th November 2014

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