Flooding chaos across Cornwall and the South West

Image caption Nearly 200 people were advised to leave their homes in Helston overnight amid fears of flooding

Homes have been evacuated and about 120 properties in Cornwall have been affected as flooding wreaked havoc across the South West.

Police went door to door in Helston, Cornwall, waking residents and leading them to a nearby emergency rest centre.

In North Devon, parts of Braunton have been flooded after defences were "overwhelmed" with water.

First Great Western has advised passengers not to travel.

Cornwall Council said 40 properties had been affected by flooding in Millbrook, 15 in Ladock and 10 in Mevagissey.

The Environment Agency has issued four severe flood warnings, all in south-west England.

The Met Office has an amber warning for more heavy rain across the south-west of England for Saturday and Sunday and for Devon and Cornwall on Monday.

'River through town'

Chairman of Braunton Parish Council Liz Spear said newly-built flood defences were overwhelmed by the volume of water that hit the town.

"It's really bad. We had flooding seven years ago, but it was nothing like this.

"It's disappointing because the Environment Agency has just spent over £1m on new flood defence schemes but they've been totally overwhelmed."

Mrs Spear, who has lived in Braunton for 45 years, added that there was a river running through the centre of the town.

In Helston, Cornwall Fire Service said 190 people were advised to leave shortly after 01:00 GMT amid fears over the level of the River Cober.

Image copyright PAUL NORMAN
Image caption A number of properties have been flooded in Braunton in North Devon

Cornwall Council said at 09:00 GMT the situation had calmed, but agencies were on standby in preparation for further downpours.

Some residents in Helston have piled sand bags at their doors and gates to keep the water at bay.

Burst its bank

About 15 residents used the emergency rest centre overnight.

Emergency services have been dealing with flooding incidents across Cornwall throughout the night, including several vehicles stuck in water.

David Owens, the duty director at Cornwall Council, said about 50 homes have been flooded, five of which are in Helston.

"The level of the river is still continuing to rise and still continuing to be of concern so we are watching the predicted rainfall very closely," he said.

Fire crews attended incidents at St Austell, Lostwithiel, Looe, Helston, Hayle, Torpoint, Penzance, Probus, Durgan, Millbrook, St Columb and St Just.

A rest centre is being set up in Lostwithiel for anyone forced to leave their home.

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Media captionThe BBC's Andrew Plant in Helston: "There is an actual risk to life"

Large amounts of surface water on the roads has made driving conditions treacherous.

In south-east Cornwall, two landslides have cut off the village of Hannafore, near Looe.

In west Cornwall, in Mousehole it is believed one road has been lifted because of water pressure beneath.

In Devon, residents in the village of Colebrook, near Plymouth, were evacuated and in Plympton 15 people were forced to move after the Long Brook burst its bank

In Dorset several motorists have been rescued from vehicles stuck in flood water.

Meanwhile in Sussex heavy rain is thought to have caused a mudslide which has partially blocked Powdermill Lane at Catsfield.

A number of roads have deep surface water in Worthing, Yapton, Fontwell, Nutbourne, Shripney, and Billingshurst.

About 20 flood watches are currently in force for Sussex, Surrey, and north east Hampshire. These include stretches of the rivers Mole, Thames, Ouse, Arun, and Adur.

In total, the Environment Agency has issued more than 90 flood warnings, meaning flooding is expected, and more than 270 flood alerts, meaning flooding is possible, for England and Wales.

There was a severe warning for Helston and Lostwithiel in Cornwall, and two for Braunton, Devon.

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