Devon floods: Severe weather prompts several rescues

Feniton flooding, 1 January 2014
Image caption The village of Feniton, which was badly flooded in 2010 and again in 2012, has been flooded

Severe weather has led to serious flooding in Devon, prompting a number of rescues.

Six people, including a baby, were trapped in cars in flood water in three separate incidents at Fenny Bridges, Ford Bridge and Avonwick, South Brent.

A canoeist was rescued after becoming stranded on an island in the middle of the swollen river Dart at Hembury Castle, Buckfastleigh

Flooding has also affected Kenn, near Exeter and Feniton.

Devon County Council tweeted that the River Taw had burst its banks near Umberleigh and drivers were getting stuck on and A377.

The Environment Agency also issued dozens of flood warnings and alerts across the South West.

Image caption A canoeist had to be rescued from the swollen and fast flowing River Dart
Image caption Flooding has affected Kenn, near Exeter, which was also hit badly in 2012

The village of Feniton was badly hit in 2010 and again in 2012.

"Feniton is starting to flood and it's looking quite serious," Claire Wright told BBC News.

"The rain is coming down heavily and it has been for many hours and fields are already saturated with all the rain we've had over the past few days."

Ms Wright, an East Devon District councillor, said drains were "spewing sewage" and villagers were "on tenterhooks".

Heavy rain and severe gales are forecast until midnight.

A Met Office has also issued a yellow "be prepared" warning.

About 40mm (2in) of rain is expected in some areas, with severe south or south-westerly gales gusting up to 60mph.

The Met Office said with ground already saturated, the public should be aware of the risk of further localised flooding.

Devon and Cornwall Police has urged drivers to take care and be prepared for "unexpected puddles or flood water around the next corner".

The force has also said members of the public should stay away from swollen rivers.

"With the previous amounts of heavy rain we have had, rivers are running very high at the moment and there is an increasing risk that their banks could burst causing further flooding," a police spokesman said.

Sporting fixtures, including racing at Exeter and Exeter City's football match against Wycombe Wanderers, were cancelled.

The weather also led to the cancellation of a number of annual New Year's Day swims in Devon and Cornwall.

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