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FLOOD WARNINGS REMAIN IN FORCE FOR NORTH CORNWALL

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Flood warnings remain in force this morning on four rivers in north Cornwall after yesterday's extreme rain trigger...
Flood warnings remain in force this morning on four rivers in north Cornwall after yesterday's extreme rain triggered devastating flash flooding in the village of Boscastle.

The Environment Agency's incident room remains in operation with flood risk experts monitoring the situation closely and advising emergency services. Agency experts contributed to briefing the deputy prime minister John Prescott when he visited Boscastle this morning. The Environment Agency's director of water management also visited the area to inspect the damage, accompanied by the agency's SW regional director. The Environment Agency's flood defence emergency workforce in the area are assisting emergency services.

Up to 100mm of rain fell in the Boscastle area between noon and 11pm yesterday (Monday), with the majority falling in an intense period of two hours.

Flood warning information is available 24hrs on the website or by telephoning the Agency's Floodline 0845 988 1188.

Information is regularly broadcast on:

BBC Radio Cornwall

Pirate FM102 East

Virgin (AM)

BBC TV SW

ITV SW

ITV West country - SW

Flood Warnings are currently in force for:

River Camel from Camelford to Wadebridge

River Neet from Woolstone Mill to Bude

River Ottery from Canworthy Water to Werrington

River Strat from Bush to Helebridge

Devon and Cornwall Police have issued the following telephone number to the public for emergency enquiries 01392 451130

MARITIME AND COASTGUARD AGENCY press release folows

Urgent calls to Falmouth Coastguard at about 3.45pm yesterday

alerted the marine emergency service to rising flood water at

Boscastle in North Cornwall. The report suggested that the river had

risen six or seven feet within the last hour, and that coupled with high

water and torrential rain was making the situation more serious

around the harbour area of the town.

Boscastle Coastguard Rescue Team were immediately called out with the

situation deteriorating locally. Roads were blocked and cut off and a

full scale emergency response was put into place with the local

police taking prime responsibility.

Further coastguard teams from Bude and Port Isaac were also been

called in. Fire service teams were also involved bringing people

to dry land. Two in shore lifeboats were also called in from Bude and

Port Isaac to assist.

Shortly after a report was made of the stone footbridge being washed

away and two further buildings also having collapsed.

Various reports were made during the course of the late afternoon and

early evening that individuals were on the roofs of local buildings

including the local visitor centre and that up to 30 cars had been

washed into the harbour. High water in the area was at 10 minutes to

seven last night.

Seven aircraft including a Coastguard helicopter; three Royal Navy

helicopters and two RAF helicopters have now been used to pick people

from the rising water and they have all been deposited at the

Boscastle football pitch or the village hall which remain above the

water. All power was switched off into the village earlier during the

incident to prevent further accidents.

There were no reports of serious injuries but people have been

spotted in upstairs windows and on roofs.

MET OFFICE

SEVERE FLOODS HIT SOUTHWEST ENGLAND

Heavy, thundery downpours developed by midday across SW England

on Monday. These showers formed bands which aligned themselves with the

wind helping to maintain the heavy rain across certain areas of North

Cornwall for several hours. The trigger mechanisms for these storms

appears to be convergence of winds along the coast and the high

ground in the local area which also helped to generate showers. It

would appear that the serious nature of these floods has been

exacerbated by the local topography around Boscastle.

Bands of showers forming in this manner is not unusual, but the

intensity and persistence of these that resulted in such flooding is

rare.

The forecast was for heavy, often torrential downpours developing

through the day, but the exact location of where these would develop

is always problematic.

Forecasters, using radar and ground-based rain gauges, were able to

give further warnings as these showers formed through the afternoon.

The heavy showers was expected to slowly die out through the evening

and overnight, but further rain is expected in the southwest through

Tuesday.

The highest rainfall totals for the day so far are for

Slaughterbridge in Cornwall, which has received 74.5mm so far today.

(Around 60mm of which fell in around 2 hours) - more is expected

through the next few hours.

The average monthly rainfall for that area in August is 100-120mm

over the high ground in that area, with 70-90mm at lower levels

around Boscastle itself.

Other similar serious flooding events that have occurred in the past

include:

July 1955 Martinstown Dorset (279.4mm in 24 hrs)

June 1917 Bruton, Somerset (242.8mm in 24hrs)

August 1924 Cannington, Somerset (238.8mm in 24 hrs)

August 1952 Lynmouth, Devon (229.5mm in 24 hrs)

June 1957 Camelford, Cornwall (203.2mm in 24hrs)

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