Storm Ciaran has kept Devon Highways teams busy overnight and throughout this morning.
Strong winds and persistent rain led to more than 80 reported incidents of fallen trees, flooded roads and landslips on local roads.
Extra staff were drafted in to our Network Operations Control Centre to co-ordinate the response, with more than 30 teams of tree surgeons and 12 emergency call-out teams available to help where needed.
The first incidents were reported overnight, with a number of roads temporarily blocked by fallen trees before they were cleared.
These included Station Road in Tiverton, Newton Road in Bovey Tracey, A381 Ipplepen, A3052 between Sidmouth and Newton Poppleford, B3180 Woodbury Common, London Road at Cranbrook. In Limers Lane in Dunkeswell a tree fell on a car, but no-one was injured.
Winds eased in the early hours which provided a calm but wet start to this morning until conditions started to deteriorate again. As the stormy conditions picked up, further reports of blocked roads were dealt with.
The A379 was closed between Modbury and Ermington due to a landslip, which was cleared by around midday. Fallen trees blocked the B3212 Longdown Road at Bakers Hill outside of Exeter, Strawberry Hill at Lympstone, Jubilee Road in Totnes, Sandy Lane in Dawlish, Shillingford Road at Shillingford Abbot, and the A386 was closed between Bideford and Torrington and Bideford and Westward Ho!
Several roads were impassable this morning due to flood water. This included Station Road at Hemyock, Chard Road at Weycroft in Axminster, the A382 Exeter Road between Newton Abbot and Kingsteignton, Hammetts Lane at Bishops Tawton and the A379 Dawlish Warren Road. There was also flood water on the B3193 Teign Valley Road at Finlake but it was passable with care.
Some of the strongest wind gusts of more than 50mph were recorded at Staddiscombe Road in the South Hams, B3357 Rundlestone, the A39 Waytown and A388 Whitebear Cross.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said:
“A lot of our roads were quieter than usual during the early morning peak so it appeared that a lot of people had heeded warnings to only travel if necessary. We may not have been hit as hard as some areas, but it has been enough to cause damage and disruption. I’d like to thank our teams for their hard work during this latest Storm event. They’ve responded swiftly to a variety of issues on our network, working in difficult conditions.
“Although the strongest winds may have passed through, multiple Flood Warnings remain in place and high river levels could lead to further flooding as more rain falls, so please continue to be vigilant and take extra care when travelling on our road network.”
People are encouraged to report any property flooding on the Flood Online Reporting Tool (FORT) and any further information can be provided to our Flood Risk Management team via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Our recycling centres have been closed today but are expected to re-open tomorrow. You can find out more on our waste and recycling webpages.
Around 300 schools took the decision to close today. Parents were encouraged to look out for updates from their children’s school, and/or to check our ‘school closure’ webpage.
Everyone travelling on Devon’s roads is reminded of the following advice:
- Be alert to fallen trees and branches, particularly on minor roads where they may not have been reported;
- Consider if your journey is essential and be alert to weather warnings;
- Never drive through floodwater or swollen flowing water, you don’t know how deep it is. Find an alternative route;
- Allow additional time for your journey;
- Reduce your speed and leave more space between you and the vehicle in front and leave plenty of room if you’re overtaking;
- Drive with care and according to the conditions.