Devon

Rain causes town bridge and school road to collapse in Devon

Jubilee Bridge collapses at Modbury, March 2013
Image caption The Jubilee Bridge collapsed overnight after suffering flood damage previously

Heavy rain in Devon has caused a bridge to collapse and several landslips.

Jubilee Bridge, in Modbury, was destroyed when up to 50mm (2 ins) of rain fell in 24 hours.

The South Hams and east of the county have been worst affected by the severe weather, which is expected to continue until at least 20:00 GMT

Ashburton Primary School near Newton Abbot was closed after part of a road outside it collapsed.

The Environment Agency has 10 flood warnings and 19 flood alerts in force for the county.

Road 'disintegrating'

Roads in Ivybridge, Newton Abbot, Bovey Tracey, Exton and parts of east Devon were hardest hit by floodwater, Devon County Council said.

Landslips were reported on the A383 near Bickington, Willow Park Lane in Kingskerswell, and the A379 near Shaldon, where there was also a fallen tree.

Luscombe Hill in Dawlish was blocked by a fallen tree.

The River Otter burst its banks at Otterton.

Two people were rescued from high water overnight in Wembury and Plymstock.

Two more had to be rescued from cars in Teigngrace and Sidmouth, fire crews said.

In Colyford, one person was rescued by crews after being found on top of their vehicle in 2ft (60cm) of flood water.

South Hams District Council said the 126-year-old Jubilee Bridge collapsed overnight and drivers should stay away from the area during its clear-up.

The bridge, built in 1887 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Queen Victoria's reign, had been closed in February after "extensive damage" from flooding at the end of last year.

Image caption Council engineers were called to assess the damage outside Ashburton Primary School

Flooding was first reported in Ashburton from about 22:00 on Thursday.

Resident Peter Griffendon noticed problems after going out to try to clear drains in the town.

He said: "I found a little road was disintegrating, and it has a culvert that runs underneath.

"I realised that there was a danger the road was going to collapse into the culvert."

Steve Talbot, who lives opposite the school, said flowing water resembled a "raging river".

He said: "Water was gushing past both sides of our house. We're like an island."

Image caption Sidmouth was also affected by flooding

Council engineers have been assessing the damage outside the school.

Head teacher Rachel Shaw said: "It was an easy decision to close, as police had closed the road and we figured it wasn't safe to try and get lots of families here."

Road users should travel with extreme care and not be tempted to drive through floodwater, the council said.

Hugh Griffith, at Devon County Highways, said: "In Ashburton, the road has lifted and the tarmac has moved.

"That's the danger of driving through flood water - you don't know what's underneath."

Four surfers were taken to hospital after getting into difficulty in heavy seas off Woolacombe, north Devon.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites