Storm causes travel disruption in Bristol and Somerset
- 22 November 2012
- From the section England
Stormy weather has caused travel disruption in Somerset and Bristol with some roads blocked by floods, fallen trees and power cables.
Earlier the M48 Old Severn Bridge was shut for about two hours in both directions due to high winds.
Trains between Somerset and Devon are also likely to be cancelled for the next two days due to a flooded track.
The Met Office said Somerset would be hit by heavy rain from the Bristol Channel and winds gusting up to 60mph.
It said up to 60mm (2.3 ins) of rain could fall overnight on already saturated ground, leading to further risk of rivers flooding.
The A371 through Cheddar Gorge in Somerset has been closed off following a landslip.
High winds have caused trees to fall in Westbury-on-Trym, the A361 between Taunton and Othery and the A39 at Newton St Loe in Bath.
Geoff Dight from Somerset County Council's highways team, said: "Surprisingly a lot of it [disruption] is fallen trees mainly in the south Somerset area, so we've had to shut the A30 West Coker and the A30 at Windwhistle. There are several other trees that are fallen but the roads are passable.
"The main closure due to the rain is the A39 at Billbrook, it's very deep there and normal cars can't get through."
During rush hour, power cables fell on to the A368 at Churchill in Somerset closing the road in both directions.
Flooding has also caused the closure of the toll bridge in Bath and has affected the M5 at junction 24 near Bridgwater.
Flood warnings remain in place across Bristol and Somerset.
First Great Western said the main line was closed between Taunton and Exeter, with buses replacing services, while Network Rail assessed the damage.
The Environment Agency is concerned about places including Curry Moor and Hay Moor, the River Chew from Chew Stoke to Keynsham and the River Yeo from Yeovil to Langport.
Bath and North East Somerset Council has asked parish councils to prepare village halls as emergency reception centres in case of flooding or damage to properties.
In the past two days, South Somerset District Council has delivered more than 4,000 sandbags to residents and has used 24 tonnes of sand to protect properties from floods.
In Somerset, Cossington Primary School near Bridgwater is expected to be closed for the rest of the week after its buildings were flooded.
Senior teacher Giselle Pirie said: "We've had flooding in the main building, we've had roughly six inches of water, luckily it was just surface water which came from the road.
"We're going to get dryers to dry out the building and we're hoping we won't be flooded again this evening. We're keeping our fingers crossed."
Chew Magna Primary School, Winsham Primary School, Chew Stoke Church Primary School, Pensford Primary School and North Curry Church of England Primary School all closed at about 12:00 GMT to allow children to get home safely.
Western Power Distribution is working to restore supplies to nearly 200 customers who have lost power in the Samford Moor area near Wellington.
Vivary Park in Taunton remains closed following heavy flooding.
Pete Fox, from the Environment Agency, said: "There is already significant travel disruption due to the wet weather and we would urge people to remain vigilant as further flooding is possible across the South West.
"People at flood risk should move their valuable possessions to a safe place before the heavy rain falls.
"We also ask that people stay safe, by staying away from swollen rivers and not attempting to drive through flood water."
Specially trained RNLI lifeboat crews from Cornwall are now on standby in Bridgwater as there are concerns that the low lying area could flood during high tide on Friday.