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Clear up continues as temperatures set to drop tonight

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More than 150 highways officers worked round the clock to respond to hundreds of separate reports of damage caused by the wind across Devon today.

But with gritters being deployed tonight to counter the expected drop in temperature, and the amount of debris still on the network, people are being advised not to drive tonight unless its absolutely necessary.

Friday morning and early afternoon represented the ‘peak’ of Storm Eunice in Devon, with wind speeds recorded of up to 100mph in places.

A Red Wind Warning had been issued by the Met Office for Northern Devon and its coastline, while an Amber Wind Warning is in force across the rest of the county until later tonight.

Since mid-morning the Network Operations Control Centre has received almost 500 calls and incident reports with highways teams and tree surgeons on standby.

Across Devon there has been reports of debris and branches on roads, flooding and damaged trees. In one incident, a damaged tree was tangled up in a power line; in North Devon, a barn roof was ripped off and landed on a road, blocking one of the areas gritting routes.

In Barrack Road in Exeter, a large tree was damaged and was only held up by a nearby street-light. Tree surgeons worked through the afternoon to make it safe.

Gritters will be out in force on the county’s key routes tonight as the temperature is expected to drop.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Councils Cabinet Member for Highways Management said:

“I want to thank everyone involved including all the highways crews, contractors, tree surgeons and control centre staff for their hard work – either through responding to incidents directly or through informing the public they have helped keep people safe.

“The winds will still be quite high tonight and a Yellow Wind Warning will be in force over Saturday and strong winds are expected in places right up until the beginning of next week.

“A significant number of trees have blown over and there’s lots of other debris on the network. We are prioritising the primary salting network, but some incidents are still too dangerous to clear until the winds subside. “We have extensive gritting planned for the evening but because the debris still on the road we advise that the public should only drive if it’s absolutely essential.

“Please check @DevonAlert for updates.”