More rain threatens floods in Westcountry for weekend
Stormy, wet weather is expected to bring more flooding in the Westcountry to mark the end of one of the wettest years in living memory.
Fresh bands of rain and gale force winds today and over the weekend are likely to cause more chaos across Devon and Cornwall, where disruption remains on the fragile rail transport network.
Persistent rain overnight and during today was predicted to exacerbate the region's flooding problems and spell more misery for holiday travellers on the roads and rail lines.
The heaviest rain will fall on the South West tonight with more than an inch (30mm) forecast from 6pm tonight to 6am tomorrow.
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After the heavy rain of the past few weeks, the Exeter-based Met Office issued a yellow warning for rain throughout the South West.
Some 16 flood warnings and 48 flood alerts remained in place yesterday from the Environment Agency, with many more expected to come into force over the next 24 hours.
But after a showery weekend, with more rain expected on Monday, the Met Office say there is a "glimmer of hope on the horizon".
Severe disruptions are still being felt on the South West's transport network.
First Great Western told people not to attempt rail travel yesterday as key routes were still being affected by weather-related delays.
Train routes still closed in Devon and Cornwall include Exeter to Exmouth and Barnstaple and Liskeard to Looe.
National Rail announced the Exeter to Taunton line will reopen at midday today. But it warned that further disruption on other major routes will continue into the New Year.
Gale force winds are set to sweep in from the Atlantic later today while temperatures will remain unseasonably mild at 12C.
A spokesman for the Met Office said: "We have issued a yellow weather warning partly due to the level of rainfall we've been experiencing.
"It's a slight improvement on the bands of heavy rain. After more rain on Sunday night and into Monday, we could see a few days of dry weather by the middle of next week. There is a glimmer of hope on the horizon."
An agency spokesman said: "Despite the short respite we've had over the past 24 hours, the rain forecast for today is expected to exacerbate the situation. If the level of rain forecast does fall, there is the potential for more flooding on Friday night and into Saturday."
As part of a rare landslide warning, walkers on the South West Coastal Path were told to avoid areas at risk.
The latest deluge will mark the end of an extraordinary year which saw the Environment Agency declare drought status in the Westcountry in April.
Since then sustained periods of heavy rain have led to average annual rainfall across the country, excluding December, of 1,202mm – one of the wettest years on record.