As it happened: UK storms

Key Points

  • Two severe flood warnings are in place in south-west England - down from nine earlier in the day
  • In Dawlish, Devon, a section of sea wall under the railway line collapsed, leaving the track suspended in mid-air
  • David Cameron has chaired a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee to consider the government's response
  • First Great Western says all lines between Exeter St Davids and Penzance have been closed because of the adverse weather
  • Western Power Distribution says 8,899 homes across south-west England are without power, the majority of them in Cornwall
  • An amber warning is in place for wind in Wales, south-west England and London and south-east England

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  1.  
    06:18:

    Welcome to our live page, in which we will be updating you with all the developments following overnight storms that have left thousands without power and disrupted transport.

     
  2.  
    06:18:

    Teams of Western Power engineers worked through the night to try to fix the faults, and the company said it would also switch circuits to work around individual problems.

    There had been high voltage faults due to debris being blown around in Devon and Cornwall, the company said.

     
  3.  
    06:21:

    Western Power Distribution says about 14,000 homes in south-west England and 1,300 in Wales were hit by power cuts.

     
  4.  
    South West Trains

    tweets: "Trains this morning are running. Some are running at reduced speed to check the lines. Alterations to services begin from later this morning."

     
  5.  
    06:25:

    Overnight, gusts of up to 70mph and 20mm of rain spread from the south-west England to south-west Wales and eastern Northern Ireland, the Met Office says.

     
  6.  
    06:30:

    BBC Radio Devon says there are particular problems in Dawlish.

    Two people were rescued from a vehicle in flood water on Marine Parade at 21:20 GMT.

    A total of 20 homes were evacuated, with people moved to the local leisure centre.

     
  7.  
    06:33:

    BBC Radio Devon is also reporting that the A379 is closed between Teignmouth and Exeter.

    There are reports that part of the sea wall has been washed away and the railway line between Exeter and Newton Abbot is still shut, because around 50 metres of ballast has gone

     
  8.  
    06:33:

    The Environment Agency has four severe flood warnings in place in south-west England, meaning there is a danger to life.

     
  9.  
    06:33:

    National Rail say buses are currently replacing trains between Hastings and Bexhill due to an obstruction on the line.

     
  10.  
    06:35:

    The AA Special Operations Response Team says there is a lot of debris and plenty of water on the roads this morning. "Slow down and give yourself a chance to spot them in the dark," they say.

     
  11.  
    06:35:

    The Met Office has amber warnings - meaning "be prepared" - for wind in Wales, south-west England and London and the South East.

     
  12.  
    Fallen tree in Penzance

    There have been reports of fallen trees across Devon and Cornwall.

     
  13.  
    06:44:

    Phil Davis from Western Power Distribution tells BBC Radio 5 live that 5,000 homes are still without power. At the peak of the problems, 44,000 were affected.

     
  14.  
    06:45:

    BBC Radio Cornwall says there were 300 emergency calls to Devon and Cornwall Police overnight.

     
  15.  
    06:45:

    Phil Davis from Western Power Distribution tells BBC Radio 5 live that winds of 85mph overnight brought trees down.

     
  16.  
    06:48:

    The National Rail website has details of all the disruption on the trains. Currently it says there are no First Great Western trains between St Erth and Penzance and between Par and Newquay.

     
  17.  
    BBC Travel Southwest

    tweets: "#Cornwall At #Tregony, the #B3287 Tregony Hill is closed because of fallen tree power cables around Roseland Crescent"

     
  18.  
    07:01:

    All journeys on the St Mawes passenger ferry in Cornwall have been cancelled today due to the adverse weather conditions, @BBCTravelSW tweets.

     
  19.  
    07:07:

    The latest developments in the weather are likely to spark more debate about what the government is doing to prevent flooding. As the BBC's environment analyst Roger Harrabin reports, there has been criticism of the government by its own advisers.

     
  20.  
    07:12:

    A spokesman for Western Power Distribution says around 200 engineers have been working throughout the night to repair damage caused by debris being blown into overhead lines by strong winds.

     
  21.  
    BBC Travel Southwest

    tweets: "#Cornwall Between #Helston and #FourLanes, there's flooding on the #B3297 just before NineMaidens."

     
  22.  
    First Great Western Trains

    tweets: "Due to the weather no trains are running between Penzance and Exeter. This will be at least until later this morning."

     
  23.  
    07:16: Breaking News

    There now six severe flood warnings - meaning a "danger to life" - in south-west England.

     
  24.  
    07:20:

    First Great Western trains says there are disruptions between Taunton and Castle Cary due to flooding.

    And it says the St Ives, Falmouth, Gunnislake and Looe branch lines will all have their services temporarily suspended with no bus replacement services provided.

     
  25.  
    07:24:

    The two latest severe flood warnings are both for the south Devon coast, from Start Point to Dawlish Warren and from Exmouth to Lyme Regis.

     
  26.  
    07:25:

    The Hovertravel ferry service between Ryde in the Isle of Wight and Southsea in Portsmouth is suspended due to the adverse weather conditions.

     
  27.  
    07:25:

    In addition to the six severe flood warnings, the Environment Agency has issued 76 lesser flood warnings - meaning flooding is expected, immediate action required - across England and Wales and 219 flood alerts.

     
  28.  
    07:32:

    The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has issued seven flood alerts and one flood warning for Scotland.

     
  29.  
    07:34:

    A spokesman for Western power Distribution - which restored power to 39,000 properties that were cut off overnight - described the storms as "an extremely exceptional event".

     
  30.  
    07:36:

    As much of the UK battles floods from excess rain and rising tides, can it learn a lesson from the Netherlands which has become adept at finding new ways to defend the land from the threat posed by excess water, as this video report demonstrates.

     
  31.  
    07:40:

    Power has been restored to homes across southern Wales that had been cut off. At one time during the night, 1,300 properties were without power.

     
  32.  
    07:41:
    Prince Charles

    The papers have covered the visit of Prince Charles in his wellies to the Somerset Levels, which have been badly affected by flooding.

     
  33.  
    Samantha Hill, Dawlish

    tweets: Sea wall and part of the station lost to the sea #Dawlish #storms no trains

     
  34.  
    Louise Minchin, BBC Breakfast Presenter

    tweets: Dramatic pictures from Dawlish in Devon after giant waves destroy the main rail-line into Cornwall.

     
  35.  
    07:45:

    There has been a lot of travel disruption in Devon and Cornwall. BBC Travel Southwest's Twitter feed has all the details.

     
  36.  
    07:46:

    Assistant Chief Constable Paul Netherton, from Devon and Cornwall Police, said: "In Kingsand we had to evacuate 20 people whose houses were being damaged by stones being washed ashore, and going through windows.

    "We really want people to be careful driving around this morning. It has been a real challenge. We had to bring in extra staff just to answer the calls."

     
  37.  
    First Great Western

    tweets: "No services can operate west of Exeter due to the weather. Similarly, road transport cannot be provided."

     
  38.  
    07:49: BBC Radio Devon's Sophie Pearce in Dawlish

    "The sea is a roaring torrent at the moment. All you can see is a great pile of debris including enormous granite blocks, thrown like a giant toy from the sea wall."

     
  39.  
    Michael Clayson, Dawlish Town Councillor

    tweets: @radiowoodley @BBCDevon I am a Dawlish town Cllr and live 2 minutes from sea front, it's been a night! But everyone fantastic.

     
  40.  
    07:56:

    As well as disruption to public transport in south-west England caused by the adverse weather, London is experiencing its own transport difficulties due to a strike by Underground workers. BBC London's Elaine Okyere and Claire Timms will keep commuters up to date throughout the day on their live page.

     
  41.  
    Jamie Wheaton, Plymouth

    tweets: I hope everyone in Dawlish is staying safe. Stay away from town centre if possible. Time to campaign for better flood defences, perhaps?

     
  42.  
    07:57:

    You can see if your area is subject to a severe weather warning on the Environment Agency's website.

     
  43.  
    Sasha Morrissey, Dawlish

    tweets: If anyone was watching BBC breakfast a few minutes ago: dawlish is where I live and yep it's that bad.

     
  44.  
    07:58:
    Fire crews deal with an unsafe chimney on City Road, Cardiff

    Matthew Horwood took this picture of firefighters dealing with an unsafe chimney on City Road in Cardiff.

     
  45.  
    Wiltshire Council

    tweets: "Please be aware that there is a lot of surface water and debris on our roads from last nights storm please take care when driving #DRIVESAFE"

     
  46.  
    08:07:

    The poor weather conditions have caused flooding, landslips and obstructions to be blown onto the railway affecting various routes in south-west and south-east England.

     
  47.  
    Stuart Gregory, Lymington

    tweets: sorry to see pics of #Dawlish this morning. Many happy childhood holiday memories there.

     
  48.  
    08:08:

    Police have declared a major incident in Dawlish, Devon, where 20 people were evacuated from their homes.

     
  49.  
    Digby Badgerous, Bridgewater

    tweets: #dawlish almost washed away. Another big storm on weekend followed by another next Wednesday #ukstorm

     
  50.  
    08:10:

    Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service have asked people to take care on the roads, with lots of trees reported to have fallen across roads and many roads flooded.

     
  51.  
    08:11:

    As well as disruption to rail travel in south-west England, the bad weather has also caused delays in the South East, with the line closed between Robertsbridge and Battle in East Sussex because of a landslip.

     
  52.  
    08:19:

    Network Rail says 30 metres of seawall under the railway line in Dawlish has collapsed and the line is now suspended in mid-air.

     
  53.  
    BBC Travel Southwest

    tweets: "#Cornwall the debris has been removed from the #A38 at #Saltash"

     
  54.  
    08:32:

    The Met Office says the weather will be "very unsettled" today with showers and longer spells of rain, as well as "strong gales for many".

     
  55.  
    08:34:

    Nick Lyness a flood risk manager for the Environment Agency tells the BBC News Channel from Chesil Beach in Dorset: "All through the night we've putting warnings out to those communities that are affected and certainly we're working very closely with the Met Office to make sure that the communities that need to know can take the appropriate preparation."

     
  56.  
    Sabrina Mole

    emails: It's been like this since last night. I went down to the seafront and waves were coming over the wall. It is still very windy. It's horrendous and is supposed to be getting worse tonight. There are no buses because of road closures due to flooding. A wall has fallen down at Dawlish Station I think because of the waves hitting it so trains are not running either.

     
  57.  
    John Popham, Hudderfield

    tweets: Wow! Railway line at Dawlish washed away. Mainline to Plymouth and Cornwall cut #uktrain

     
  58.  
    08:40:

    The problems in Dawlish come just days after the coastal railway line running through the town was deemed unsafe earlier after "hundreds of tonnes" of supporting ballast was washed away.

    Network Rail staff had been carrying out urgent maintenance work but that had to be abandoned last night as the new storms headed their way.

    Dawlish is between Exeter and Newton Abbot on the main railway line through Devon.

     
  59.  
    08:42:

    Severe gale force winds have been causing severe disruption across Cornwall, with homes in Kingsland near Torpoint evacuated because stones and water were crashing through people's windows.

     
  60.  
    Ben Bradshaw, Labour MP for Exeter

    tweets: Loss of railway at Dawlish if true terrible news for Devon & Cornwall huge economic impact major resilience upgrades vital now

     
  61.  
    Stephen Cherry

    tweets: Startled by news from Dawlish. Lived there for a year, often watching spectacular seas, but this devastation beyond imagination.

     
  62.  
    08:49:

    There has been a seventh severe flood warning - meaning a "danger to life" - issued for Chiswell on the Isle of Portland in Dorset.

     
  63.  
    Welcome to Dawlish sign

    A reminder that police have declared a major incident in Dawlish, Devon, as the storm caused 20 people to be evacuated overnight.

     
  64.  
    Sima Davarian

    tweets: Never mind the HS2 millions, the SW needs investment in rail infrastructure. News about track being washed away at Dawlish terrible.

     
  65.  
    08:52:

    Thomas Burdick in Topsham, Devon, says of the floods: "Last night you could see people walking down the Strand and the water was up to their waists - a good half metre to a metre deep."

     
  66.  
    08:53:

    Dan Panes of First Great Western Trains - which has experienced severe disruption to its services - told the BBC: "Our advice at the moment is not to travel west of Exeter. We cannot run trains safely between Exeter and Plymouth at the moment. And our services will be limited. Around half of what we would normally run between Plymouth and Penzance. Although we are putting road replacement buses and taxis in place wherever we can, we cannot guarantee that we are going to be able to continue to do that throughout the day because of potentially worsening conditions on the roads."

     
  67.  
    Political Nurse

    tweets: Poor pretty Dawlish is being battered by this awful weather. Am thinking of you all down in Devon and Cornwall today.

     
  68.  
  69.  
    Dorset Transport

    tweets: Travelling by train west of Exeter very problematic. Limited bus replacement. Main line through Dawlish closed until at least late Friday.

     
  70.  
    09:03: Breaking News

    Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to chair a meeting of the government's emergency committee, Cobra - the first time this year he has taken on that role - to discuss the impact of the storm.

     
  71.  
    BBC Travel Southwest

    tweets: "#Cornwall #Devon long delays crossing the #A38 Tamar Bridge after an earlier lane closure."

     
  72.  
    09:06:

    The BBC's chief political correspondent Norman Smith says the news that the prime minister is to chair the Cobra meeting is likely to fuel speculation that Downing Street is anxious to take a more hands-on role over the crisis and comes amid widespread criticism of Environment Secretary Owen Paterson's handling of the crisis.

     
  73.  
    09:06:

    Downing Street say Mr Cameron is chairing Cobra "because of the storms last night, the impact on power supply, rail lines and flooding". The meeting is expected to take place this afternoon.

     
  74.  
    Kev Leary, Sunderland

    texts: When are we going go get an engineer in charge of the Environment Agency, instead of endless press releases and flood warnings we need engineering solutions?

     
  75.  
    09:13:

    A reminder that the Met Office has issued amber warnings for wind - meaning "be prepared" - for Wales, south-west England and London and south-east England.

    It also has a lesser "be aware" yellow warning for rain in parts of Scotland, the West Midlands and the east of England.

     
  76.  
    Andrew Oakes

    tweets: Very sad about the damage to the railway line at Dawlish. It's one of the most beautiful lines to travel along.

     
  77.  
    09:27:
    Dawlish

    This picture from Network Rail shows the storm damage to the railway line in Dawlish.

     
  78.  
    09:34:

    East Devon District Council say Sidmouth and Exmouth seafronts are now closed due to the bad weather.

     
  79.  
    Lockie Currie, Newton Ferrers, Devon

    sent us this picture of a tree that has fallen across the road in Newton Ferrers in Devon as a result of the storm.

    Tree across road
     
  80.  
    09:41:

    It's not just the south west of England that has been impacted by the storm. About 1,300 properties in Wales lost power overnight, before being restored this morning. Fallen trees have blocked roads and caused damage to buildings, with more gales forecast from the middle of the day.

     
  81.  
    09:42:
    railway line

    It has been much reported that the collapse of a section of sea wall under the railway line in Dawlish has left the track suspended in mid-air. This picture shows how that looks from above.

     
  82.  
    Ian Beck, London

    tweets: That ruined bit of line on the sea at Dawlish is one of the wonders and delights of the railway on a calm summer afternoon

     
  83.  
    09:44:

    BBC correspondent John Ayres is in Dawlish this morning and he says: "We can see all the debris that has been thrown out on to the road that has come up from the sea. The debris is one thing. Another thing that has been another problem and perhaps more dangerous for a lot of people is the ballast from the railway that has been thrown up overnight, causing all sorts of problems. And of course if you get hit by that you really would have problems."

     
  84.  
    09:45:

    Our correspondent from Dawlish adds: "The railway has taken the brunt of this. Just up the railway line at the Dawlish sea wall, 30 metres of the railway line, the sea wall, has had the ballast completely washed away, which means there is a huge amount for Network Rail to do to get this railway line working again."

     
  85.  
    09:48:
    Looe

    BBC Radio Cornwall tweeted this picture of Looe this morning. Even before high tide the water was over the quay.

     
  86.  
    National Rail

    tweets: "#NewtonAbbot - Liskeard - Looe branch line is now closed as the tide has come in and flooding has happened again."

     
  87.  
    09:55:

    South West Trains is imposing a 50mph speed limit on certain routes between 10:00 and 19:00 GMT.

     
  88.  
    Neil Charles, Leeds

    tweets: Blimey, Devon got battered last night. We used to go to Dawlish as kids and see the trains run along the coast... pic.twitter.com/9TRsDSncAB

     
  89.  
    Dawlish damage

    BBC Radio Devon's Sophie Pierce tweeted this picture of a huge hole in the sea wall in Dawlish.

     
  90.  
    10:01:

    Further along the coast at Brighton, storms overnight damaged a section of the 148-year-old West Pier. Parts of the Grade I listed structure collapsed. Rachel Clark, chief executive of the West Pier Trust, which owns it, said damage had already been caused over recent weeks, but this was more significant. "A significant section of the pavilion island skeleton has collapsed. It's very sad but it was always going to happen. It's not being maintained and eventually the elements are going to take their toll, and they have again this time but much more significantly."

     
  91.  
    10:03:

    Brighton's West Pier was closed in 1975 and has been deteriorating since. A storm in 2002 resulted in the collapse of the south-east corner of the Concert Hall, which was then targeted by arsonists a year later. Plans were in place to revive the hall, but the Heritage Lottery Fund withdrew funding for the project. The hall was removed in 2010 after it was deemed a public hazard.

     
  92.  
    10:03:
    Brighton's West Pier on Tuesday following stormy weather

    The skeletal remains of Brighton's West Pier, which have become a public attraction, are expected to one day completely fall into the sea.

     
  93.  
    10:04:

    Two more severe flood warnings - meaning "danger to life" - have been issued by the Environment Agency, making a total of nine. All of the severe warnings are in the south west of England.

     
  94.  
    10:07:

    Both of the latest severe flood warnings were issued for the Somerset Levels, which has already seen huge amount of flooding over the last few weeks. Prince Charles visited the area yesterday and called the flooding a "tragedy".

     
  95.  
    BBC South West Journalist Sarah Ransome

    tweets: Amazing sight of rail tracks hanging in the air at Dawlish after sea wall collapsed

    Rail tracks suspended in the air as waves batter the sea wall in Dawlish
     
  96.  
    10:09:

    A spokesman for South Hams District Council said homes on the seafront at Torcross in Devon were evacuated "because there was danger from broken glass and further damage caused by the breaking rollers".

    He added: "We also have unconfirmed reports that there may be a breach in the sea defences and that the rebuilt road in front of Slapton Ley is threatened. We are awaiting reports back from our engineer at the scene."

     
  97.  
    10:11: Sophie Pierce, BBC Devon Reporter

    tweets: this picture of the train tracks under water on Dawlish seafront this morning.

    Dawlish rail tracks
     
  98.  
    10:15:

    The public have been warned to stay away from areas on the coast due to the danger posed by waves overtopping the sea walls.

     
  99.  
    10:20:

    Helen Connolly in Camelford in Cornwall told the BBC News Channel her property is one of the 7,000 currently without power.

    "The wind seems to have died down a bit, but last night I think it was just the direction of the wind that was really unusual. It seemed to be coming up from the south and it sounded really eerie when we were indoors listening to it".

     
  100.  
    Jessica Brock

    emailed: this picture of the sea washing across the broken line in Dawlish this morning.

    Dawlish seafront
     
  101.  
    10:25:

    The Twitter feed for Launceston Police Community Support Officers in Cornwall says a road at Angel Hill in Launceston has collapsed.

     
  102.  
    Sophie Pierce, BBC Devon Reporter

    tweets: this picture of the damage to the seafront road in Dawlish this morning.

    Broken road in Dawlish
     
  103.  
    10:32:

    While rail chaos ensures in and around Dawlish, there is some positive news for train travellers elsewhere in Devon. The line between Exeter and Taunton, which has been closed for three weeks to repair a tunnel, will reopen as scheduled next week despite the bad weather, Network Rail says.

     
  104.  
    Plymouth How waterfront

    Hannah Gow took this picture of the waves crashing into the seafront at West Hoe in Plymouth.

     
  105.  
    Sarah McCourt, Plymouth

    emails: The loss of the track at Dawlish is not a surprise, but it is disastrous for Devon and Cornwall commuters and businesses. As I rely on the trains from Plymouth to Exeter to get to university for my course and to work, I experience disruption every year when the line is closed due to bad weather. However, there are still no plans to build an alternative route that is not vulnerable to the sea. This is ridiculous, Devon and Cornwall are now cut off from the rest of the country. In Plymouth we have no airport now, and with the railway closed unless you drive you are facing hours of delay to be bussed around the closed line. We desperately need an alternative in the South West. This is not good enough.

     
  106.  
    Plymouth

    Here's another picture of flooding at the seafront in West Hoe, Plymouth, taken by Hannah Gow.

     
  107.  
    Neal Wright, Penzance, Cornwall

    emails: Cornwall Council are already withdrawing vital services due to budget cuts. Now they will have a very large bill to clear up the damage from the storms - quite a bit of mess here in Penzance. Are the government going to contribute towards the clear up, or are our Council's services going to be cut further?

     
  108.  
    10:47:

    Flood sirens have been sounded at Chiswell in Dorset - where there is a severe weather warning - this morning and people in properties at risk of flooding have been advised to move upstairs and take their valuables with them.

     
  109.  
    10:47:

    Duncan Kennedy reporting for the BBC News Channel from Weymouth says that Dorset Police have sealed off the road down to Chesil Beach because of the dangerous weather conditions.

     
  110.  
    Environment Agency Southwest

    tweets: "Two hours before high water @ Chesil Beach. Don't wave watch - Keep away from coastal areas. Stay safe!"

     
  111.  
    10:50:

    In Newlyn, west Cornwall, buildings have been flooded including the fishermen's mission.

     
  112.  
    Daniel Pass, Manchester

    tweets: Seeing the pictures of Dawlish rail tracks reminds me of my youth. Travelled those tracks many times.

     
  113.  
    Francessca Blackham, Cardiff

    tweets: Unsupported track in #Dawlish as sea wall has completely washed away beneath it #storm pic.twitter.com/rLQw64zIuP

     
  114.  
    10:56:

    Cornwall Council say the clock tower and Institution building in Kingsand have been damaged and a house is in danger of collapsing into the sea. Teams from the council, the fire service, police and coastguards are at the scene.

     
  115.  
    10:58:

    Parked cars floated from their spaces as the storm battered Guernsey overnight and caused the closure of much of the coast road, between Bulwer Avenue and the Val De Terres.

     
  116.  
    Graham Figg, Hatfield

    emails: The disaster at Dawlish shows the necessity to rebuild the former Southern Main line around the north of Dartmoor via Okehampton and Meldon quarry to Plymouth. Surely this is a more useful idea than getting businessmen to Birmingham 10 minutes earlier via HS2.

     
  117.  
    11:00:

    BBC Weather Centre forecaster Jacob Cope warns the storm is "on the move" across the country and that London could be hit with thunder and hail later in the day. He said: "We are likely to see some thunder and hail in London through the afternoon, and winds will be very strong. We could see gusts up to 50mph in central London as we go through the afternoon."

     
  118.  
    George Southgate, Kings Lynn Norfolk

    emails: We have visited the Dawlish area many times and often wonder why the railway is routed next to the shore. Surely it would be sensible for the rail line to be re-routed inland rather than for another repair to be done and the inevitable flooding again next year, perhaps some of the vast fortunes being spent on HS2 could be much better invested in more essential areas.

     
  119.  
    11:08:

    Cornwall Council says there are "issues" with the pier at St Mawes and the road has been closed by the police. The public are advised to avoid the area.

     
  120.  
    Phil Waite, Corsham Wiltshire

    emails: It's times like these when the armed forces should be used to help clear up the mess caused by the terrible weather. We have very skilled and qualified Royal Engineers and many others who would be only to wiling to assist.

     
  121.  
    Keith Richards, Torquay

    emails: How many billions are to be spent on faster 'additional' rail lines from London to the north of England, while we in the south-west now have NO lines, Cornwall, Plymouth and Torbay are cut off. This happens every year and is not good enough! Spend some of the money here!

     
  122.  
    11:18: Ben Brown, BBC News Channel, in Dawlish

    "As you can see, the waves are huge. The sea is very angry indeed."

     
  123.  
    11:19:

    In his latest report from Dawlish, BBC News presenter Ben Brown says that quite a few beach huts have been simply swept away.

     
  124.  
    11:20:

    The MP for Exeter, Ben Bradshaw, says the government needs to "look at its whole approach to capital investment in our transport infrastructure in the light of the impact of climate change - and it needs to do so quickly."

     
  125.  
    11:24:

    Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw says the damage done to the rail line in Dawlish highlights an economic inequality: "We have now in the South West been cut off two years in a row. It has a devastating impact on our economy. The local authorities have estimated tens of millions of pounds last year. Let's hope the line can be reopened quickly this time. If it's not, we're looking at another very serious economic impact - far bigger than the tube strike in London that everyone's making such a fuss about."

     
  126.  
    11:31:

    BBC forecaster Jacob Cope says most parts of the UK will be hit with showers throughout the day. He says: "This is certainly not going to help the flooding." And looking ahead to tomorrow, he warns that some southern parts of England, which are particularly susceptible to flooding, could be hit with more than 25mm of rain.

     
  127.  
    11:34:

    Number 10 says the decision by the prime minister to chair today's Cobra emergency committee meeting on the severe weather is no reflection on the way Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has handled the various crises so far.

    A spokesman said Mr Paterson was "doing an excellent job", adding that Mr Cameron decided to chair today's meeting "to get the very latest on what is being done".

     
  128.  
    BBC Radio Cornwall’s Johnny O'Shea in Kingsand

    "Police have closed off the road road into Kingsand, the clock tower is in danger of collapsing - it's being pounded by the waves, the lower level of the building has been ripped away already."

     
  129.  
    11:37:

    BBC Radio Cornwall's Donna Birrell at Porthleven says teams of men are trying to haul boats out of the water to rescue them. There are at least 40 boats at risk - six have sunk already - the sea is thick with debris, including great big pieces of granite, wood, driftwood and bouys. A big lorry has just arrived to try and crane some of the boats out of the water. People are looking absolutely desperate, she says.

     
  130.  
    Jordan Langridge

    emails: this picture of a lorry that was overturned on the A35 between Bridport and Dorchester this morning.

    Overturned lorry
     
  131.  
    11:40:

    Avon and Somerset Police were warning motorists to only make journeys if they are absolutely essential.

    "High winds and driving rain are making driving conditions difficult across Somerset - particularly in the Taunton area where the A38 and A358 have been affected by fallen trees and other debris," a force spokesman says.

    He adds that many roads have been blocked by fallen tress or are flooded and there are queues on roads throughout the county.

     
  132.  
    Peter Orchard, Charmouth, Dorset
    Water washing over sea wall

    emailed us this picture of waves washing across the coastal road in Charmouth in Dorset this morning.

     
  133.  
    11:48:

    BBC correspondent Hywel Griffiths is in Cefn Sidan in west Wales - where there is an amber warning for wind - says the damage done overnight was nowhere near as bad as during storms in January, although there has been some travel disruption this morning.

     
  134.  
    11:48:

    Portsmouth Historic Dockyard - which is home to the Mary Rose and HMS Victory - has been closed to visitors due to the bad weather. High winds had caused roof tiles to blow around.

     
  135.  
    Jeremy Arthur

    emails this picture of the broken sea wall in Dawlish this morning.

    Dawlish seafront
     
  136.  
    11:52:

    A woman called Sally from Lamorna in west Cornwall phones BBC Radio Cornwall to say the "devastation is dreadful".

    She says: "Services are trying to pull cars out the water, part of the end of the quay has gone, gardens destroyed, roofs coming off and the sea has pulled cars into the water."

     
  137.  
    Chris Saich, Dawlish

    emails: We are right on the seafront where the waves have been battering down the sea wall and one large part of it crashed and fell down last night, it made a big bang as it came crashing down.

    The wind was blowing the rain so hard it was leaking through our windows and stones started to come down the chimney. The police knocked on our door and told us we had to evacuate. They said it was too dangerous to stay. I have a young family so we are staying at my parents about a ten minute drive away. I don't think we will be allowed back in our property any time soon.

     
  138.  
    11:55:

    Natural Resources Wales says there have been no major incidents so far today.

    A spokesman says: "There is nothing dramatic expected. No river flooding, or around the coast. High tides have passed, and tide heights have dropped by a metre since the weekend. There is the possibility of some localised flooding and there may be some surface water on roads."

     
  139.  
    11:56:
    Tree fallen on house

    Grace Pascoe took this picture of a tree that fell on a house in Falmouth, Cornwall.

     
  140.  
    BBC Radio Cornwall reporter Johnny O’Shea in Kingsand

    "Waves are continuing to pile into Kingsand, the tide is pulling back, there has been no more noticeable damage to the clock tower in the last 40 minutes. The waves have calmed down slightly but it's still ferocious."

     
  141.  
    12:06:

    Flooding is the key issue of Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, with Ed Miliband saying the government's response has been inadequate. David Cameron says he does not accept the response has been "slow".

     
  142.  
    12:06:

    The prime minister tells the House of Commons that "whatever is required" will be provided to deal with the effects of flooding.

     
  143.  
    12:10:

    Labour leader Ed Miliband says that many people feel they have been left on their own to deal with flooding and reminds David Cameron that he had previously said that a report on the problems caused by the floods during the festive season would be published by the end of January.

     
  144.  
    Breaking News

    Prime Minister David Cameron says an extra £100m will be made available to fund essential flood repairs and maintenance over the next year.

     
  145.  
    12:12:

    David Cameron promises the environment secretary will make a statement to the Commons on Thursday.

     
  146.  
    National Rail

    tweets: "#UKStorm - Speed restrictions now in place at Castle Cary / Salisbury and on the Sussex coast. Delays expected."

     
  147.  
    Nadine Freestone, Teignmouth
    Teignmouth seafront

    emailed: this picture of Teignmouth seafront where the pier is hidden by the wave, Taken at 09.55 this morning just before high tide.

     
  148.  
    12:15:

    Cornwall Council Leader John Pollard is demanding immediate action by the government to repair the storm damage in the region and restore the rail link to Cornwall.

    Mr Pollard says Cornwall has suffered a series of storms during this winter and the overall costs to us are enormous. He says: "We cannot afford any interruption to this vital rail link and the government needs to act to ensure that repairs are carried out immediately."

     
  149.  
    12:16:

    The Environment Agency updates its website every 15 minutes with the latest number of flood warnings in place. At the moment, it says nine severe flood warnings are in place - warning of flooding and danger to life. All nine apply to the South West. There are 69 flood warnings, which means flooding is expected and immediate action is required. The majority of these are in the South West and South East, with the remainder in the Anglian, Midlands and Wales regions.

     
  150.  
    Adrian Bradshaw, South Devon

    emails: The government has been warned year on year about South West infrastructure. The South West is good at dealing with storms as we are the area that gets the brunt of the Atlantic weather systems. Now is the time to act. Merely patching the coastal rail lines is no longer an option. It would involve billions in expenditure but create work for thousands. It needs to be driven by government and quickly. So many governments have failed the people of Devon and Cornwall.

     
  151.  
    12:19:

    Cllr Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management and Flood Prevention, says: "These are some of the most horrendous conditions I can remember, and the combination of heavy rain and strong winds is causing disruption across the county.

    "People should be prepared for the risk of further disruption throughout today, and motorists are advised to stick to main roads where possible, not to drive through floodwater and not to drive through road closures. Our staff are working hard to deal with the damage that has been caused."

     
  152.  
    12:20:

    David Cameron says that the extra money he pledged to make available would be used for "whatever is required, whether it is dredging work on the rivers Tone and Parrett, whether it is support for our emergency services, whether it is fresh money for flood defences, whether it's action across the board, this government will help those families and get this issue sorted."

     
  153.  
    12:22:

    The prime minister says: "From the late 1990s, for far too long, the Environment Agency believe that it was wrong to dredge. Those of us with rural constituencies that have been affected by flooding have seen the effectiveness of some dredging that's taken place. If it's good for some places, I think we need to make the argument that it would be good for many more places."

     
  154.  
    12:24:

    David Cameron told the Commons that there "shouldn't be a false choice between protecting the town or protecting people who live in the countryside", when responding to a question about comments made by Environment Agency leader Lord Smith.

     
  155.  
    12:26:

    Labour's Ben Bradshaw, the MP for Exeter, says at Prime Minister's Questions that the loss of the railway line at Dawlish is devastating for the entire region and he adds that the country must spend more on the resilience of the transport sector.

     
  156.  
    12:26:

    Responding to Ben Bradshaw's concerns , David Cameron says: "We need urgent action to be taken to restore these transport links and that is why I'll be chairing a Cobra meeting this afternoon."

     
  157.  
    12:32:

    BBC South West's Adrian Campbell describes conditions at West Bay in Dorset as "very difficult indeed".

    "The sea is rising relentlessly and crashing over the coastal defences and bobbing the boats around in the harbour here," he says.

     
  158.  
    12:33:
    House of Commons

    David Cameron says of dredging: "I believe it's time for Natural England, the Environment Agency and the departments to sit round the table and work out a new approach that will make sure that something that did work for frankly decades and centuries is reintroduced again."

     
  159.  
    Oliver Bullock, Dawlish, Devon

    emails: The sea is battering us, so is the rain, there seems to be no let up at the moment. Let's see what the Cobra meeting cannot do for us again.

     
  160.  
    BBC News Online’s Alex Iszatt

    "A baby bottle-nosed dolphin has been stranded on the shingles at Pembroke Beach, Guernsey.

    The severe gales that rocked the island last night, and earlier, flung up seaweed, pebbles and the porpoise.

    Volunteers have been protecting the stranded mammal, which is about a metre long.

    The GSPCA have been trying to keep the dolphin alive before it can assess its injuries."

     
  161.  
    12:44:

    As is often the case at Prime Minister's Questions, MPs whose electorate are at the centre of that day's news are given the chance to put their concerns to the PM. Conservative Ann Marie Morris, whose Newton Abbot constituency includes Dawlish, takes the opportunity to highlight the problems caused by the closure of the rail line through the storm-hit coastal town and suggests funding for a breakwater should be fast-tracked.

     
  162.  
    12:46:

    Prime Minister David Cameron tells Ms Morris that Dawlish is "a vital artery" of the South West and adds: "It is hugely upsetting and disturbing what has happened. We will look at what has happened and we will look at it with urgency."

    Mr Cameron said this is why a Cobra meeting has been organised for this afternoon.

     
  163.  
    Dawlish

    As the picture shows, the seafront in Dawlish, Devon, has taken a battering from strong winds and powerful waves.

     
  164.  
    12:47:

    A spokesman for the Environment Agency says the high tide this morning caused "some impact", particularly in Dawlish. He says the agency is now waiting for the next high tide at 5pm. "We don't think it will be as extreme as the one this morning," he says. "We have a band of rain coming in now which could see some impact, particularly in Somerset. We are currently checking damage done by the wave action, making sure emergency repair work is done, making sure flood defences can stand up to any further wave action."

     
  165.  
    Paul Rees, Newquay, Cornwall

    emails: Newquay is getting battered again, last night was unbelievable, the wind is getting up again. It's just not stopping. I honestly feel we are entering an unknown zone in worldwide weather.

     
  166.  
    Ballast

    Waves washed ballast from the rail line in Dawlish onto the road.

     
  167.  
    12:49:

    Cornwall Council Leader John Pollard says the cost of the storm damage " is rising to £10m as we speak".

     
  168.  
    Breaking News

    Of the £100m extra that will be spent on tackling the aftermath of the floods, £75m will fund repairs, £15m will go on maintenance and £10m will be spent on "urgent work" in Somerset, the prime minister says.

     
  169.  
    Mike Stanford, St. Austell, Cornwall

    emails: I am relieved that the Prime Minister has said that extra money will be used for "whatever is required". Maybe a couple of the billions that are going to be wasted on getting Londoners to Birmingham 20 minutes quicker could be used to restore the rail link from Cornwall to England.

     
  170.  
    clock tower in Kingsand

    Here's a picture of the damaged clock tower in Kingsand, Cornwall.

     
  171.  
    1254:

    Dave Owens from Cornwall Council tells BBC Radio Cornwall that in Penzance and Porthleven members of the public are hampering the rescue effort.

    "We really need a clear runway to get the work done as quickly as possible. Keep away from Porthleven, St Mawes and Penzance," he says.

     
  172.  
    12:57:

    People living in parts of Somerset affected by severe flooding are being advised to leave their homes.

    An Environment Agency spokesman tells the BBC: "Basically we're holding back the water now as much as we can. The water is going up faster than we can keep up with what's happening. So it's looking close to evacuation now, just to get the residents out of the house, or if they want to stay, get the valuables high and dry. It's just a matter of now warning everybody and just letting them know we can't keep up with this now, it's getting on, it's relentless - too much so."

     
  173.  
    Jon Kay, BBC West of England correspondent

    tweets: "Network Rail say track has gone in four or five places along this line. Will take 6-8 weeks to repair at least. Optimistic? #dawlish"

     
  174.  
    13:11:

    Just a reminder that there are nine severe flood warnings - meaning "danger to life" - in the south west of England, 69 lesser flood warnings across England and Wales and 220 flood alerts. In Scotland, there are four flood alerts and four flood warnings.

     
  175.  
    Louise, West Sussex

    emails: Why are there still the selfish people putting their lives and others at risk by standing so close to sea defences?? They are not big and they are not clever. My uncle is voluntary lifeboat crew and has been called out three times already in the past 48 hours.

     
  176.  
    Brighton marina

    Brighton in Sussex has also experienced powerful waves hitting its marina.

     
  177.  
    Steve Durrant, Plymouth

    emails: Can someone please mention that it's not just Cornwall that's cut off and not just tourism affected. Plymouth is one of the largest cities in the country and is now relying on a four lane dual carriageway!!

     
  178.  
    13:18:

    Patrick Hallgate from Network Rail, who is assessing the damage to the rail line in Dawlish, tells the BBC an early estimate is that it looks like it might take take 4-6 weeks to fix the line.

    "This is probably the biggest structural engineering feat we've faced in the South West for at least the last decade," he says.

     
  179.  
    13:22:

    More from Network Rail's John Hallgate in Dawlish: "The local teams working here have said this is the worst damage they've seen in their careers to the sea wall."

     
  180.  
    13:24:

    The prime minister's spokesman says that, as well as the extra £100m pledged to tackle the aftermath of the floods, there will be another way in which those affected will be helped. The Bellwin scheme which allows local authorities to apply for funds to cope with emergencies will be changed so that 100% of claims can be met instead of the current 85% limit. The time scale of the scheme will also be extended to allow local authorities to make claims until the end of March.

     
  181.  
    Marianne Claydon, Millendreath
    Millendreath and Looe (Banjo pier almost submerged)

    Marianne Claydon, Millendreath sent us this photo of stormy weather at Millendreath and Looe which was taken earlier today.

     
  182.  
    Linda Pritchard, Seaton

    emails: The sea was the worst I have seen it in the 7 years I have been living in Seaton. Rocks had been thrown up by the sea and roads were blocked to traffic by the police. There were a number of people on the beach taking photos and video, but all stood well back. The noise of the winds last night kept us awake (my mother and me) and the windows were rattling so hard that we feared they would come crashing in.

     
  183.  
    Jonny Williams

    tweets: this picture of The Cleave at Kingsand collapsing under the water.

    Huge waves at Kingsand
     
  184.  
    BBC Radio Cornwall's Johnny O'Shea in Kingsand

    "Waves continue to tumble in hitting the clock tower.

    "The whole road is being shored up. Doors are missing, windows are missing. People are very distressed.

    "An emergency evacuation centre has been set up in the village as people try to come to terms with the devastation of this storm."

     
  185.  
    13:39:

    Geoff Brown, Cornwall Council's cabinet member for communities, says: "We've had reports of one house at risk of falling into the sea. There's nobody in it. They have been evacuated. A vast number of properties have been evacuated."

     
  186.  
    13:48:

    Dawlish is very much in the news with the dramatic pictures of its railway track hanging in mid-air and water seen washing through the streets - but how much do you know about the Devon seaside resort?

    It is located 12 miles from Exeter, with a population of about 13,500 people. The town was named after a local stream with the Celtic name Deawlisc, which means "devil water". It is believed the name may have come from heavy rains that hit the town's red cliffs and made the stream run red. For more, including details of the town's famous links to railway designer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, you can visit the Dawlish Town Council website.

     
  187.  
    13:49:
    The railway line at Dawlish

    This picture shows the devastation caused to the railway line in Dawlish - and just how close it runs to people's homes.

     
  188.  
    13:59:

    The prime minister believes Environment Agency boss Chris Smith is bringing important leadership to the organisation, his spokesman says. He adds that the agency had delivered a good response to the flooding in what was "clearly a very challenging environment".

    Lord Smith has been criticised over his failure to dredge rivers on the Somerset Levels, which has been badly flooded. The prime minister's spokesman says Mr Cameron has made it clear that there had not been enough dredging in places since the 1990s and "that's something that has to be put right".

     
  189.  
    14:00:

    Lord Smith was criticised after he said the country would have to decide whether to protect town or country against flooding, because there was no "bottomless purse". The prime minister's spokesman said that when Mr Cameron spoke of the "false choice" between protecting town or country, his central point was that the money being spent on flood defences was going to rural communities, coastal communities and urban areas. The spokesman said the government believes it is right to invest in flood defences across the board.

     
  190.  
    Luke Davies

    emails this picture of the sea washing out onto the road in Dawlish today.

    Seafront at Dawlish
     
  191.  
    The West Pier in Brighton

    Here's another picture of Brighton's ruined West Pier (see also 10:01 and 10:03) in which it can be clearly seen that the skeletal structure has been split in two - and is now in a precarious position.

     
  192.  
    14:09:

    Western Power says 9,680 homes across south-west England are still without power. No single areas has been affected, with affected customers scattered across the region. Some 7,800 of those customers are in Cornwall. Western Power has 800 staff working at the moment to restore electricity.

     
  193.  
    14:21:

    The announcement that changes to the Bellwin formula will allow local authorities to claim back 100% of the money they have to spend to cope with flood emergencies, rather than a previous 85% limit, does not impress Labour's Hilary Benn. The shadow communities secretary He points out the were 100% refunds when floods happened in 2013 and it was only last month that Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced the 85% limit. Mr Benn told BBC Radio 4 earlier: "I think that is a sign that they didn't quite get how severe this was and certainly people on the ground feel that help has been slow in coming."

     
  194.  
    14:21:

    Cornwall Council says its contact centre has received 115 weather-related calls so far today, with the fire and rescue service handling a further 51 calls. They include reports of fallen trees and road closures.

     
  195.  
    Dr. Malcolm Brown

    emails this picture of the stormy seas at Top Tieb Harbour at Marazion and St Michael's Mount in Cornwall.

    Huge waves at Marazion beach
     
  196.  
    14:23:

    There is further disruption for residents of the Somerset Levels. Avon and Somerset Police said they were advising the occupants of more than 150 homes in Fordgate and Northmoor to leave immediately.

    A force spokesman said: "A retaining wall at Baltmoor is in danger of overtopping, which would release an increased volume of flood water into the area."

     
  197.  
    Sarah McCourt, Plymouth

    emails: The loss of the track at Dawlish is not a surprise, but it is disastrous for Devon and Cornwall commuters and businesses. There are still no plans to build an alternative route that is not vulnerable to the sea. This is ridiculous. Devon and Cornwall are now cut off from the rest of the country.

    On Monday when the line was first closed, it took me four hours to get to Exeter and three to return from what is a one hour journey. We desperately need an alternative in the South West. This is not good enough.

     
  198.  
    14:26:

    The BBC's Norman Smith, reporting from Whitehall, says the Cobra meeting chaired by Prime Minister David Cameron is getting under way. Eric Pickles, communities and local government secretary, environment secretary Owen Paterson and transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin are among those present.

     
  199.  
    Paul Taylor

    emails this picture of the stormy seas washing across the seafront road is Sidmouth in Devon today.

    Sidmouth seafront
     
  200.  
    14:29:

    Transport Secretary Mr McLoughlin told the BBC he was determined to get damaged lines repaired and restored as quickly as possible.

     
  201.  
    14:30: BBC Radio Cornwall's Denis Nightingale in Lamorna

    "The damage is extensive. Part of the wall on the right-hand side of the quay has been bashed away. The top car park is going to have to be resurfaced. The Lamorna cafe has been badly battered."

     
  202.  
    14:30:

    Daniel Stevenson, owner of the cafe in Lamorna, said: "I saw huge waves, the biggest I have seen in nearly 20 years. They went into the car park, into gardens to the houses, damaging pretty much everything they touched. The roof of the cafe has caved in."

     
  203.  
    14:32: BBC Radio Cornwall's Johnny O'Shea in Kingsand

    "The level of damage in the village is quite extraordinary. Windows have been smashed, doors are lying in the road. The sand is several inches deep along the road."

     
  204.  

    In its latest release, the Environment Agency says about 328 homes have been flooded since Friday evening.

     
  205.  
    14:54:

    Cornwall's Chief Fire Officer Des Tidbury says Cornwall Council has received 115 weather-related calls and Cornwall Fire Service has received a further 51.

     
  206.  
    Jon Kay, BBC West of England correspondent

    tweets: "Police telling residents in Somerset Levels villages of Northmoor, Saltmoor and Fordgate to evacuate. Risk to life. First time it's happened."

     
  207.  
    14:59:

    Wild Futures' Monkey Sanctuary in Looe, Cornwall, was hit by storms last night shattering monkey enclosure fencing and causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.

    A large beech tree came crashing down onto one of the woolly monkeys' enclosures. Keepers were able to react quickly and monkeys were moved to safe areas away from the damaged territory.

    The Monkey Sanctuary is currently home to 37 monkeys.

     
  208.  
    15:00:

    Kingsand's clock tower has been battered by waves and is being looked at by Cornwall Council. Local councillor George Trubody says: "They are keeping people away from the building. We've just got to keep an eye on it with more bad weather on the way."

     
  209.  
    Doug Watson, Saltash, Cornwall

    emails: Extra money to clean up is all well and good, but we need help NOW. These storms just keep coming and coming and coming. We need emergency flood and storm defences and we need them yesterday.

    I used to live in both Bude and Looe and I know Kingsand pretty well. Where's the help for these communities? Where's the real, practical help for the communities stranded on the Somerset Levels? They need more than just headline grabbing visits by dignitaries, they DESERVE more.

     
  210.  
    15:04:

    The Environment Agency's head of incident management, John Curtin, says: "We're preparing for successive bands of heavy rain forecast into the weekend, groundwater and river levels are already high following the wettest January on record for England.

    "With further river and coastal flooding expected this week we continue to have teams working around the clock to protect homes and communities and we are mobilising staff from across the Environment Agency to provide support in affected areas."

     
  211.  
    15:10:

    Avon and Somerset Police said on Twitter their police helicopter would be using "skyshout" - a public address system - to alert residents of Northmoor, Saltmoor and Fordgate of the severe weather warning.

     
  212.  
    15:13:

    First Great Western has tweeted that the sleeper service between London Paddington and Penzance will be cancelled until 28 February due to the damaged railway line at Dawlish.

     
  213.  
    15:16:

    A rest centre has been set up at the bowling club in North Petherton, Somerset, for those who have been urged to evacuate their homes, Avon and Somerset police say.

     
  214.  
    15:19:

    There are now no flood warnings or severe flood warnings in Wales, although 10 flood alerts are in place.

     
  215.  
    15:21:
    Newhaven Lighthouse on 5 February 2014

    Waves pound Newhaven Lighthouse, in East Sussex.

     
  216.  
    15:25:

    Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin discussed the damaged Dawlish railway line as he entered the Cobra meeting. "The track bed has been washed away and the engineers haven't actually been able to get on site yet," he said, adding that he is waiting for the engineers to report back to him.

     
  217.  
    15:27:

    When asked about the possibility that it might take six weeks to mend the railway line at Dawlish, Mr McLoughlin replied: "Six weeks is a very long time, but we've got to make sure we put back a safe railway."

     
  218.  
    15:28:

    The National Rail website has details of all of the delays and cancellations caused by the bad weather that has affected several lines in the south west and south east of England.

     
  219.  
    15:32:

    BBC Weather forecaster Jacob Cope says the winds should peak by mid-afternoon through the Bristol Channel, western Wales and much of the south coast.

    There will also be some intense showers in Wales and the M4 corridor, he says.

    After a few hours the strong winds are set to ease and there will be an "improving picture" this evening, he says.

    However, rain will move up from the south coast tomorrow morning which will reach south-west England in late morning, bringing 20-30mm of rain throughout the day.

    Unlike today, "we are not likely to see any great wind speeds," he says.

     
  220.  
    BBC Travel Southwest

    tweets: "#Devon At South Milton the beach Road is closed."

     
  221.  
    15:36:

    Cornwall Chamber of Commerce says the closure of the railway line, due to the damage at Dawlish, is "absolutely devastating" for local businesses, adding: "We have always known there are weaknesses in the rail infrastructure after years of under-investment. The recent storm damage has clearly demonstrated how fragile the rail network is, and why serious investment is now imperative for the region."

     
  222.  
    15:41:

    Friends of the Earth campaigner Guy Shrubsole says the extra £100m announced by the government for flood works as "like trying to plug the leaks when the dam's about to burst".

    "Official figures show the Coalition spent less than the last government on flood defences," he says.

    "And with climate change worsening flood risk, there is now a gaping half billion-pound hole between what's been spent on defences and what's required."

     
  223.  
    15:41:
    Dawlish

    Dawlish on the Devon coast appears to have been one of the places worst hit during the latest in a line of storms that began before Christmas.

     
  224.  
    15:56:

    The Environment Agency has reduced the number of severe flood warnings from nine to eight. They are all in south-west England.

     
  225.  
    15:57:

    Prime Minister David Cameron tweets: "I've just chaired COBRA on the latest storms and floods - I said there should be no restrictions on help for those affected."

     
  226.  
    15:59:

    First Great Western has tweeted a summary of current disruptions to its services - and reiterates that customers in Devon and Cornwall are advised not to travel.

     
  227.  
    16:01:

    The Slapton Line, a road in Torcross, Devon, has been closed to vehicles because of the shingle being thrown on it by the storms. In addition, more than 20 properties in Torcross have been affected by flooding and nine people had to leave their homes.

     
  228.  
    16:02: Jay Honey, Northampton

    emails: As someone who has moved away from the West Country not three years ago, it may be that I can see a clearer picture of what Mr Cameron is saying and what he isn't. Yes, there are funds required from repairs. Yes, funds are required for maintenance and yes, funds are required on urgent work in Somerset however it seems abundantly clear that all this will do is shore up the existing infrastructure. Where is the mention of improvement works?

     
  229.  
    16:03: Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    tweets: "Looks like Owen Paterson won't be doing any statement after COBRA meeting as he avoids cameras outside"

     
  230.  
    16:09:

    A navy bomb squad is investigating the discovery of a suspected grenade which was found under an ice cream kiosk in Exmouth, Devon. It is believed to be a smoke grenade that was unearthed by storms. A 30m exclusion zone is in place.

     
  231.  
    16:10:

    Will Stephens, RNLI coastal safety staff officer, has warned with more stormy weather forecast that people should take extra care if they travelling to the coast. He said: "Rough seas and extreme weather might look exciting, but getting too close can be risky. So respect the water and, in particular, avoid exposed places where big waves could sweep you off your feet."

     
  232.  
    16:11: Suzie Cunliffe, Porthleven, Cornwall

    emails: Slates, stones and buoys litter the road as I walk down to the harbour at Porthleven, Cornwall. Sea spray slaps me in the face. The ocean can be an angry mistress - and today she has come to remind us how very small we all are.

     
  233.  
    16:12: Peter Cuddehay, Plymouth

    emails: The damage inflicted to the South West's infrastructure is immense and the amount of money being mentioned by Cameron et al to initiate repairs just shows how out of touch those in Parliament and the Environment Agency are. The SW infrastructure has been let go to rack and ruin by successive governments and this needs to stop.

     
  234.  
    16:13:

    Met Office forecasters are warning of further disruption as they predict heavy rain and gale force winds. Experts say strong winds will continue to hit the South Coast later before the winds ease. However, they say heavy rain is due to sweep across southern Britain on Thursday and Friday.

     
  235.  
    16:14:

    Andy Page, Met Office chief meteorologist, says there could be further risks of flooding this weekend. He said: "The unsettled weather will continue over the coming days with heavy rain across the southern half of Britain on Thursday evening into Friday, and that will be quickly followed by another storm moving in early on Saturday. This will bring the risk of flooding and damaging winds bringing down trees to cause disruption to travel and power networks."

     
  236.  
    16:16:
    Waves hitting properties in Newlyn, Cornwall

    Alan Dwan took this dramatic picture of waves hitting properties in Newlyn, Cornwall.

     
  237.  
    16:23:

    The Environment Agency says it is struggling to contain flood waters in Moorland in the Somerset Levels and is looking at an evacuation as the water levels rise.

     
  238.  
    16:25: Dave Malia, Plymouth

    emails: Doesn't most of the blame sit squarely on the developers' shoulders for building homes in flood risk areas? Surely is it not the owners' own fault they bought homes in flood risk areas, no doubt cheaply because of that fact? Just move away from the flood plains.

     
  239.  
    16:27:

    David Cameron's official spokesman said the hour-long Cobra meeting had "a real focus on ensuring that we are doing as much as we can" on restoring power and transport links.

     
  240.  
    16:28:

    The prime minister's spokesman added: "He will have been underlining the importance of ensuring that we are doing as much as we can both in the immediate response and planning ahead of the expected further significant bad weather that the Met Office is forecasting for Friday evening.

    "I am sure that he will have been making the point that he continues to rule nothing out in terms of how the Government responds to this very significant challenge."

     
  241.  
    16:29:
    Alderney breakwater

    The Channel Islands have also experienced severe weather and huge waves, as this picture of Alderney's breakwater shows.

     
  242.  
    16:31:

    The Number 10 spokesman said Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin were among those to attend the Cobra meeting.

     
  243.  
    16:36:

    Speaking after the Cobra meeting, David Cameron said: "My sympathy is with everyone affected by the ongoing storms which are causing misery to communities and businesses across the country. With power outages, more flooding and more bad weather forecast, I have chaired a Cobra (meeting) this afternoon to ensure that everything that can be done to get stricken communities moving is being done: there are no restrictions on help."

     
  244.  
    16:37:

    The prime minister continued: "I have seen the shocking pictures of the destroyed train line in Dawlish and I am determined that while it is out of action, the public get a proper alternative service and a solution is found to fix it, as soon as possible. The government will continue to hold emergency Cobra meetings to ensure these problems are sorted out."

     
  245.  
    16:40:

    Mr Cameron said a "long-term solution" is needed and promised that dredging would be carried out on the Somerset Levels "as soon as the waters have receded enough for it to be safe to do so".

     
  246.  
    16:43: Ken Radbourne, Tewkesbury

    emails: I am a retired rail manager. Many of us feel very strongly that the old Southern Railway rail route between Exeter and Plymouth via Okehampton should be re-opened. Apart from re-instating a rail link to the major Devon towns of Okehampton and Tavistock, it would create a crucially important diversionary rail route which could be used when events such as what has happened at Dawlish today close the main and only rail line from the whole of the UK to anywhere west of Exeter.

     
  247.  
    16:48:

    The storms battering the West Country have badly damaged the railway where it runs right by the edge of the sea at Dawlish in Devon. In an article for the BBC News Website Magazine, rail journalist Richard Clinnick says it is part of one of the UK's most scenic stretches of line.

     
  248.  
    16:49:

    Labour MP Andrew Miller, who chairs the parliamentary science and technology select committee, tells the BBC News channel: "We need a joined up government approach. The problem we have had is much of this work has been compartmentalised in little parts of government. I hope that the government will bring together an expert scientific group to plan a strategic solution to some of these very, very difficult problems."

     
  249.  
    16:50:
    A flooded road near Weymouth, Dorset

    Drivers on the Portland Beach Road near Weymouth, Dorset, have been urged to take care due to the amount of surface water. It was temporarily closed earlier in the day.

     
  250.  
    16:54:

    In Porthleven, Cornwall, six boats sank as the outer harbour was breached - but no injuries were reported. Efforts are under way to winch out the vessels, which include 20ft and 16ft-long boats.

     
  251.  
    16:58: Mr C. Ward, Truro, Cornwall

    emails: Yet again we see extensive damage to the railway at Dawlish. Because there is a long history of the track being vulnerable here why did British Rail close the alternative route from Plymouth to Exeter via Tavistock and Okehampton in the 1960s? Some consideration must surely be given to re-establishing this route around Dartmoor.

     
  252.  
    17:03:

    The focus on extreme weather in the UK comes as the World Meteorological Organization releases data showing 2013 was the sixth warmest year on record. Chris Fawkes, from BBC Weather, discusses the impact of a warmer world in this video.

     
  253.  
    17:05:
    Moorland resident Sue Sayer

    Sue Sayer, from Moorland in Somerset, told the BBC she is not intending to leave her home - despite an Avon and Somerset Police helicopter broadcasting messages advising people to do so.

    "We'll just live upstairs," said Ms Sayer, adding that she thought the message had "panicked a lot of people".

     
  254.  
    17:08:

    The Environment Agency has reduced the number of severe flood warnings to six, all of which are in south-west England. In addition, there are 63 flood warnings in force across south-east and south-west England, the Midlands and the Anglian region. There are a further 229 flood alerts covering all areas of England and Wales other than north-west England.

     
  255.  
    17:14:

    The Scottish Environment Protection Agency currently has four flood alerts in place and four flood warnings.

     
  256.  
    17:14:
    The rail line at Dawlish

    BBC correspondent Simon Hall has posted this photo of the remnants of the rail line at Dawlish.

     
  257.  
    17:19: Beth Higgs
    Lyme Regis

    took this picture in Lyme Regis earlier.

     
  258.  
    17:28:

    South Hams District Council, which covers a large section of Devon, has already provided 12 tonnes of sandbags and 15 sheets of plywood to board up those homes damaged by the waves, it has said.

     
  259.  
    17:28:

    Devon County Council Highways Control Centre manager, Chris Cranston, says the county is still "not seeing a particularly good picture" for the next couple of days.

    "We can see more fluvial [river] flooding into the weekend, and we're expecting to see more surface water flooding because the ground is saturated. Also, fallen trees on minor roads may not have been reported yet. The message is to drive carefully on minor roads, don't enter floodwater, and keep away from coasts at high tides as there is the potential for landslides and landslips."

     
  260.  
    17:35:

    The Environment Agency has confirmed there are now two severe flood warnings in force. That is down from a peak of nine at around 13:00 GMT.

     
  261.  
    17:36:

    The two remain severe flood warnings all relate to Somerset. They are in force in Salt Moor and North Moor, including East Lyng, Burrowbridge, West Yeo, Moorland and Fordgate, as well as at the A361 between East Lyng and Burrowbridge, including the Somerset Levels Basket and Craft Centre area.

     
  262.  
    17:38:

    Western Power Distribution says it currently has 8,899 customers in the south-west of England without power, the majority in Cornwall.

     
  263.  
    17:40:

    Network service manager for Western Power Distribution, Phil Davies, says they're doing their best in difficult circumstances. He said: "We've had a very busy day again, we've worked in extreme conditions overnight and yesterday evening when the storm hit us. And we've worked extremely hard today, but we are fighting a bit of a battle."

     
  264.  
    17:41:

    The leader of Labour-led Plymouth City Council, Tudor Evans, says immediate and substantial action from the government is needed on the South West rail line in the wake of the collapse of the sea wall at Dawlish so that the economy in Devon does not suffer too much.

     
  265.  
    17:54:
    Lord Krebs

    Lord John Krebs, a member of the committee on climate change, tells the BBC that the UK must get used to more extreme weather and to become "more resilient as a nation."

    He said: "We can say with increasing confidence that this kind of extreme weather is going to get more common., So what might be a one in 100 year event might become a one in 20 year event as we move towards the end of this century."

     
  266.  
    17:57:

    BBC South West Home Affairs Correspondent Simon Hall says the damage in Dawlish, Devon, has been "quite extraordinary".

    He says: "People here are grabbing on to the fact the community spirit has been remarkable. Police and others have been full of praise for the community in the face of such adversity. However, there is another high tide due and more weather warnings. It has been relentless and people are just asking: "When will this end?"."

     
  267.  
    18:00:

    We're going to bring our live coverage of the aftermath of storms that have caused chaos in parts of South West England to an end. Waves washed away a sea wall in Dawlish, Devon which supported a crucial stretch of train track serving Plymouth and Penzance, and nearly 9,000 homes are still without power in the region.

    Meanwhile, David Cameron chaired a meeting of the emergency Cobra committee. It came after his announcement £100m of extra funding to help deal with the flooding across England.

    But some residents of the Somerset Levels are being moved out of their homes, and two severe flood warnings are still in place. And although the weather is forecast to improve this evening, 20-30mm of rain is expected to fall on already saturated ground in the South West on Friday.

    Our news story will continue to be updated with the latest developments.

     

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