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Danger to life - two Cornish towns evacuated because of storm

By WBMiles  |  Posted: January 31, 2014

  • This map of flood warnings from the Environment Agency shows the severity of the situation facing Cornwall.

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Two Cornish coastal communities are being evacuated after "a danger to life" warning was issued in preparation for the "apocalyptic" storm heading for the county this weekend.

Residents in Bude and Portreath whose properties are at risk of flooding have been advised by Cornwall Council to find temporary accommodation during and around times of high tide tomorrow.

The periods of greatest risk will be between 5.30 to 8.30am and 6 to 9pm in Bude, and 5 to 8am and 5 to 8pm in Portreath.

Any of the residents who do not have somewhere else to go during the periods of high tide have been given advice and details of how to request assistance.

There are now weather warnings in place for Cornwall for the next four days.

On both the north and south coasts flooding is possible at every high tide through until Monday morning.

Perranporth, Looe, Mevagissey, Porthleven, Newquay were all hit hard by storm Hercules which battered the coast earlier this month.

The Environment Agency, who has issued the strongest possible flood warnings for the Cornish coast said Penzance, Mullion and Kingsand on the South coast and Newquay, and St Ives on the North coast could all be at risk.

The Met Office put a further weather warning in place to warn of heavy rain and gales continuing through to Monday.

Emergency service bosses, together with council and Environment Agency staff are preparing a co-ordinated response to the wild weather.

The fact that the gales will coincide with high spring tides means storm surges could inundate Cornish coastal communities.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said the wind was forecast to be a South Westerly force 8 on Saturday morning veering West South Westerly force 10 in the afternoon.

The spokesman said: "Waves are forecast to be over 6m, with a tidal surge around 500mm.

"Overtopping of coastal defences is expected. Exposed coastal locations are most at risk.

"Impacts are likely to be similar to coastal flooding in January."

The Environment Agency said beaches, coastal promenades, roads and footpaths would be “extremely dangerous”.

Regarding the latest warning a Met Office spokesman said: “A deep low pressure system will track northwards close to western Britain on Sunday night with the associated frontal system likely to bring another spell of heavy rain and gales to western and southwestern areas during Monday.

“Another 10 to 20 mm of rain and perhaps 30 mm or more locally is possible in areas already saturated. Winds will also strengthen to give gusts 50 to 60 mph and locally 70 mph or more around exposed coasts and headlands. Gales coupled with high tides are also likely to increase the risk of coastal flooding in exposed areas. “

A "silver command" to co-ordinate public services will meet in the early hours of Saturday morning and remain in place through the day if necessary.

A spokesman for Cornwall Council said: "Officers are working together from Cornwall Council’s highways, environment, fire and rescue and emergency management services, Devon and Cornwall Police, Cormac and the Environment Agency and are monitoring the situation.

"All agencies are on standby to deal with any problems."

Surf forecast site magicseaweed has called the storm Hercules Take Two - a sequel of the storm that battered the coast at the start of this month - and have said it will be as damaging, dangerous and "similarly apocalyptic".

The Met Office has issued warnings for ice and rain in Cornwall today, for ice, wind and rain on Saturday, for high winds on Sunday and for rain on Monday.

The latest storm, that has been christened Storm Brigid by the Weather Channel, comes on top of the fifth wettest January since records began.

The Met Office said across southwest England the 222.6 mm of rainfall up to January 28 meant January 2014 was already the wettest January since 1995 (224.4 mm).

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