Helston floods: as it happened
This live event has finished
- At 3am on Saturday morning around 200 Helston householders were advised to evacuate due to flooding.
- A severe flood warning, meaning "risk to life," was in place for two days on the River Cober through the town.
- Response teams worked throughout the night on Saturday to clear flood water from badly affected areas, at some points pumping as much as 9,000 litres a minute.
- Feared further heavy rain failed to materialise and the severe flood warning was stood down on the morning of Christmas Eve.
Almost 245 houses were affected by flooding over the weekend according to Devon and Cornwall Police, including 30 commercial properties.
Rainfall is expected to clear from the region eastwards today and river levels remain high but are generally now receding.
This situation could "easily change," however, as more rain falls over the coming days.
A police spokesperson said: "A large number of B roads were closed over the weekend as well as some A roads, but most have now re-opened.
"Although the heaviest rainfall has now eased the public are advised to remain vigilant as potentially more heavy showers are expected during Christmas Day - especially in the evening - and into Boxing Day."
The coastguard is advising festive walkers to stay away from rivers and coastal paths while the police warn motorists to "be aware of surface water, potholes and the potential for landslips."
Our teams are pumping water into the sea to reduce levels in Loe Pool and River Cober near #Helston in #Cornwall http://t.co/Q5tw0rZ5— @EnvAgencySW 24 December 2012
The Met Office has now downgraded today's weather warning for Cornwall from "amber" to "yellow" alert.
Further showers, at times heavy, are forecast for the region until the day after Boxing Day (December 27) but no more "amber" alerts are in place.
There is still a risk of localised flooding "given the already saturated ground," forecasters said.
Cardinham, near Bodmin, has been named the wettest place in England by the Met Office with 128.8mm (5in) of rain falling there since December 19.
Just over the border, in Plymouth, more rain has fallen in the past five days than usually does in the entire month of December - 128mm compared to the December average of 118.8mm.
The wettest place in the whole of the UK from December 19 to 6am this morning was declared as Tyndrum in Perthshire, Scotland where more than 155mm (6in) fell.
A map showing Cardinham near Bodmin - the "wettest place in England" over the past five days:
The Met Office are predicting further unsettled weather in the coming week and are urging the public to keep up to date with the latest forecasts and warnings.
The severe flood warning for the River Cober through Helston has now been stood down.
Pumping operations in the Loe Pool have been declared a partial success and river levels are said to have "stabilised."
A post on the Environment Agency's website reads: "The Loe Pool pumping operations are continuing and have stabilised levels.
"As a result the immediate risk of severe flooding has passed.
"However, all catchments remain very wet and further moderate rain is expected through Monday and into Tuesday. We will continue to monitor the situation."
A "flood warning," meaning flooding is still expected but no longer poses a threat to life, is still in place.
Severe flood warning in Helston has now been removed. Latest warnings http://t.co/ExA9sb0X . Stay #floodaware— @EnvAgencySW 24 December 2012
Rail passengers attempting to come to Cornwall for Christmas are in for a nightmare commute - and may not even make it at all.
Anyone hoping to travel on the London Paddington to Penzance line has been advised to "make alternative arrangements."
Flood water is blocking the line between Tiverton and Exeter and there are only limited bus replacements available.
At Cowley Bridge, Devon Network Rail engineers built 'blow up' plastic dams for the first time, in a bid to stop water getting into signal boxes.
However, the company has said that water from the River Exe had washed part of the ground away under areas of track.
Flood water will have to recede before repairs can be made.
Trains between London Paddington and Penzance use this area.
Network Rail has said the line could be closed for up to five days.
South West Trains has said it will accept tickets from First Great Western passengers travelling to Cornwall and Devon.
Routies between Par and Newquay, Liskeard and Looe and also Exeter and Barnstaple were flooded yesterday morning and are still facing problems according to First Great Western.
The train company has said that tickets intended for travel yesterday would still be valid to use today.
Despite a mainly dry day yesterday, a severe flood warning remains in place on the River Cober in Helston this morning.
However, the heavy rain forecast for last night did not materialise, and the river levels are remaining stable at present.
Today's forecast suggests rain should clear during the morning, with a dry spell followed by showers this evening and into Christmas Day.
At the last update, crews were on standby in Helston ready for more rain forecast through the night.
A severe flood warning remains in force for the River Cober and the Met Office is predicting further spells of rain during the bulk of Christmas Eve.
An amber weathing warning is in place for the whole of Cornwall from midnight, with the Met's chief forecasters saying the "already saturated ground" will result in surface water, further river flooding and disruption to travel.
More as we have it.
More temporary homes have become available to those affected by flooding in Helston over the Christmas period.
There are now 12 locations for people to stay if they are unable to return home due to their houses being ruined by flood water.
Contact Mark Upton on 07968 842378 or Emma Wooderson on 07966 976068.
Cornwall fire and rescue service has 2 high volume pumps on standby to deal with potential flooding incidents #ccfloods— @CornwallCouncil 23 December 2012
Cornwall Fire and rescue crews have been busy all day dealing with more than 34 incidents related to flooding #ccfloods— @CornwallCouncil 23 December 2012
CORMAC teams have dealt with almost 100 calls today - with many related to landslips affecting roads and public rights of way #ccfloods— @CornwallCouncil 23 December 2012
A lady enjoying a nice big cup of tea in the midst of the floods in Helston! EWW/SWNS http://t.co/DVKiIeIK— @EmilyRoseWW 23 December 2012
Outlook: 10-20mm rain expected this evening; 30-40mm in isolated areas. 310 properties flooded over the SW, 8,000 protected by our schemes— @EnvAgencySW 23 December 2012
The severe flood warning issued by the Environment Agency for Helston is still in force this evening, making it the only remaining warning of this severity still in place anywhere in the UK.
River levels through Helston remain high following last night's rainfall, the agency warns, and they are "closely monitoring" the situation.
The updated warning reads: "We are continuing to pump from Loe Pool to minimise the impact on levels upstream in Helston, however the pool continues to rise slowly, increasing flood risk upstream.
"Between 15 and 20mm of rain is expected overnight on Sunday into Monday, which is likely to cause the river level in Helston to rise."
The St Johns Road, St Johns Close, Coronation Park and Loe Pool areas are most at risk.
Be aware that people are removing road closed signs to drive through flood water. Not a good idea. stay safe and #floodaware— @EnvAgencySW 23 December 2012
Emergency temporary accomodation is now available for anyone affected by flooding in the town over the Christmas period.
There a few locations being offered by Helston's Methodist minister Rev Danny Reed, working alongside the team from the Epworth Hall.
Mark Upton, chairman of the hall, said: "If things go horribly wrong anybody over the next few days we can add this to our list of resources."
Anyone in need of help can contact Mark on 07968 842378 or Emma Wooderson on 07966 976068.
The hall remains on standby as an evacuation centre, with Mark and Emma still on call via the above numbers.
The Met Office's "rainfall radar" is showing a thick band of rain headed for Cornwall, with up to 8mm an hour expected in places.
Hope that everyone is staying safe in Cornwall #ccfloods - We've had houses flooded and landslides in Looe :-( http://t.co/fZL3MEFA— @DottyVintage 23 December 2012
To see how the flooding is causing chaos in Devon click the link here:
For national news on how the flooding is affecting the rest of the country click this link:
1145 hours. Heavy rain approaching west Cornwall currently off Isles of Scilly.http://t.co/NOOWbp74— @dbthepilot 23 December 2012
Residents of Helston affected by flooding are returning to their homes this morning, to assess the damage.
One such person is Dawn Williams, who rents a house in St John's Road.
She had around eight inches of water in her home yesterday and was forced to take refuge with her seven-year-old son Ceri at her mother's house nearby.
This morning she has returned to find furniture with water marks, books with the pages curling and some very soggy carpet.
Amazingly her beloved car, Bertie, started first time - despite still having a pool of water in the driver's footwell.
However, while the town is dry once again, many people are well aware that more rain is forecast and there could well be a repeat of yesterday's problems.
Dawn said: "The next lot is supposed to be coming this afternoon and the river is still high. We're going to try and do what we can."
What a difference a day makes! St John's #Helston dry again - for now... Good luck all later. #floods http://t.co/boClJCT0— @PacketEmma 23 December 2012
Further band of heavy rain predicted from around 6pm this evening - take precautions + stay safe. Advice at http://t.co/8W5MKIrh #ccfloods— @CornwallCouncil 23 December 2012
We have pumps working in Helston, lowering water levels. Severe flood warning still in place.http://t.co/5rqaz62x #floodaware Stay safe!— @EnvAgencySW 23 December 2012
All praise due&deserved @RNLI the Env. Agency, Emergency services & council for tireless work through night helping those affected #ccfloods— @GemmaLawrence1 23 December 2012
The Met Office has updated its weather warning for the South West this morning, scaling back from an amber "be prepared" to a yellow "be aware".
According to the chief forecaster, this yellow warning for rain means it should "largely clear away northeastwards" throughout the morning.
Further heavy rain is still expected for tomorrow however and an amber warning is still in place for the county on Christmas Eve with "an increased risk of both surface water and river flooding along with disruption to travel."
The Environment Agency's severe flood warning for the River Cober at Helston remains in force.
Much of the United Kingdom will be subject to wet weather today, according to the Met Office's updated weather warning map:
Staff still deployed at Helston and Lostwithiel to monitor progress there Force Incident Manager overseeing— @ChSuptFielding 23 December 2012
Agencies are monitoring the situation at Loe Pool in Helston where the water levels are continuing to rise #ccfloods— @CornwallCouncil 23 December 2012
Things a bit calmer but crews still out in Helston, Perranporth, Lostwithial, St Issey and Launceston to properties affected by #floods— @CornwallCFO 22 December 2012
Further rain is expected to fall widely overnight, peaking between 3.00am and 6.00am tomorrow morning (Sunday, December 23).
Offical advice, from the police, reads:
- If your journey is not necessary, delay it.
- If you are travelling by road "drive to the conditions" and keep your speed down.
- Driving in the dark in rural areas can be particularly hazardous in difficult conditions and depths of water can easily be underestimated - it only takes 30 cm of water to float a car, and you can quickly become stranded.
- The rule is "if you do not know how the deep the water is, do not enter it."
Additionally, if on foot the advice states NOT to enter flood water – it is "exceptionally dangerous", and as little as 15 cm of water can knock a person off their feet.
Keen amateur photographer Jake Riding took this highly appropriate picture of a street named "Drippy Droppy" in Helston earlier today.
(via JR Photography)
You can see more of Jake's pictures of the floods on his Facebook page.
@CornwallFRS High Volume Pump (HVP) remains on scene at the River Cober in #Helston while the HVP from @AvonFireRescue is at #Lostwithiel— @CornwallFRS 22 December 2012
#emergencyservices still working hard in #helston #lostwithiel and other flooded areas. utmost respect for them #ccfloods— @lis0312 22 December 2012
Cornwall Councillor Andy Wallis has contacted the Packet to say that the river at Methleigh Bottom is "at breaking point."
Anyone in the area should be aware and take care.
The road at Methleigh Bottom has been closed and motorists have been warned not to use it.
Mr Wallis said that some people have been driving straight past the sign, putting themselves in danger.
The evacuation centre at Helston's Epworth Hall has swung into action this evening.
A resident from one of the first houses to flood received help earlier and has since been found alternative accomodation by Coastline Housing.
Since then people have been popping in and out the hall for a respite from the cold and rain.
Those needing shelter from flooding in Helston can go to the Epworth Hall until around 11pm, although if the situation deteriorates further doors could be open longer.
After that Mark Upton will be on call on 07968 842378 and Emma Wooderson on 07966 976068.
They can be contacted in an emergency at any time over the night.
The Environment Agency has issued two emergency numbers people can call to report flooding and get advice overnight.
For help and support call the floodline number 0845 988 1188.
To report flooding call 0800 807060.
Both lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The latest travel advice is that St John's Road is only just passable due to flooding.
Fire services have placed ramps down to help vehicles pass, but motorists are still asked to avoid this area.
With rain now falling again, the situation is likely to worsen as the evening progresses.
The warnings from @CornwallCouncil are getting more urgent. They've been fully stretched all day, and more rains coming. Go careful peeps.— @RobNolanTruro 22 December 2012
Cornwall Council is warning people to stay away from the edge of flood swollen rivers, as it is impossible to know how deep they are.
Raining again...thoughts go out to those already suffering due to flooding #ccfloods— @lisap141 22 December 2012
Cornwall Council has warned motorists not to drive through flood water, as it might be deeper than it looks.
The Epworth Hall is lovely and warm - with the nice smell of soup! #ccflooding #helston http://t.co/Svb8Z6DG— @WRadfordGaby 22 December 2012
Cornwall Council has increased the number of properties it believes have been affected by flooding in Cornwall since this morning to 163.
Fire and rescue and Cormac crews still dealing with flooding incidents at Helston and Lostwithiel where further rain expected #ccfloods— @CornwallCouncil 22 December 2012
Cornwall Councillor Andy Wallis believes that if the water in Porthleven's river rises by just one more inch it will burst.
By midday 120 properties #Cornwall were directly affected by flood water with many more under threat, 30mm rain expected 2 fall next 6 hrs— @CornwallCFO 22 December 2012
If you’ve been affected by flooding, join Flood Group UK on Facebook to connect with others for support: http://t.co/M6GTdu01 #floodaware— @EnvAgencySW 22 December 2012
With some trains cancelled in Cornwall and replacement bus services unable to operate due to flood water on the roads, First Great Western has said that rail tickets for today will still be valid for travel on December 23 and 24.
However, the company has asked: "Please stay as near to your booked service time as possible."
Sending our thoughts and best wishes out to everyone currently being affected by this terrible weather. Stay safe.— @MacmillanKernow 22 December 2012
Looks like we're pushing #helston water down the Cober and now Porthleven is getting a beating with the floods #ccfloods— @WRadfordGaby 22 December 2012
Helston resident Simone Taylor took this picture of the flooding in Porthleven:
Porthleven's culvert as EA are clearing it. I have never seen it like this before http://t.co/TbEIO0NE— @CllrAWallis 22 December 2012
Huge praise to @CornwallCouncil fireservice @CornwallCFO for fast response to porthleven residents in pumping out water from homes #ccfloods— @CllrAWallis 22 December 2012
River at Porthleven about to burst if more rain. Swift help from Cornwall Council #ccfloods http://t.co/LWaJnCOD— @CllrAWallis 22 December 2012
Cornwall Councillor Andy Wallis is reporting that Porthleven is "at breaking point."
He added that the port's culvert was clearing it, but said: "I've never seen it like this."
Anyone going to the evacuation centre set up at Helston's Epworth Hall should head round to the right hand side of the Methodist church in Coinagehall Street to find the entrance.
ShelterBox has donated 40 blankets, while Helston Farmers' Market has given food. Volunteers are now cooking up pots of hot soup to feed people stranded and evacuated from their homes.
Emma Wooderson from the Epworth Hall said the team had been on standby since 2am today.
She added: "I think lots of residents have gone to families. We will try and take food down later if it's needed."
Ms Wooderson said the hall would be open throughout the day and evening, into the night if needed, and would be somewhere dry for people to sleep.
There are reports of severe flooding on the A394 Penzance Road in Helston, near the B3304 Porthleven Road junction.
Drivers are advised to avoid the area.
Woke up to flooded utility room and water coming in front room through gaps in slate floor. We have great drainage but rain too much #floods— @SteveH1492 22 December 2012
Almost 9,000 litres of water is being pumped out of Helston's flooded areas every minute, according to reports.
Town mayoress Wendy Radford Gaby took this picture of cars slowing down to drive over a fire hose:
Helston under water!!! http://t.co/b0WwZamF— @TotallyAdored1 22 December 2012
Wet enough! #Helston #floods #nomorerainplease http://t.co/6X4LtasU— @BrightFutureAcc 22 December 2012
Please slow down if you are driving over the large yellow fire hose being used to pump out water at Helston #ccfloods— @CornwallCouncil 22 December 2012
Packet reporter Emma Ferguson is en route to the Helston rest centre to speak to evacuees.
The #amazing #helston #fireservice doing all they can in the #floods http://t.co/9pql8BP5— @lis0312 22 December 2012
Food donated by Helston's farmers' market has just arrived at the rest centre in the town's Epworth Hall:
(Photo courtesy of @WRadfordGaby)
Senior beach lifeguard Sam Crowther (@sjcrowther2012) posted this picture of firefighters hard at work trying to clear the flood waters in Helston.
You can see more of his pictures on tumblr.
The Environment Agency has now issued a flood warning for the River Cober from Wendron to Lowertown (including Wendron, Coverack Bridges, Trannack Mill Industrial Estate and the old Lowertown Methodist Church).
A severe flood warning is still in place for the section of the river that runs through Helston.
A video of the Helston floods and interview with house owner Jerry Williams, who says it's a "desperate situation" for the people who live there (via @KernowPods)
#Cornwall Fire & Rescue Service swift water rescue teams from Falmouth, St Austell & Bude all deployed to assist flooded communities— @CornwallCFO 22 December 2012
Some important things to consider to stay safe and healthy following the floods: http://t.co/KdeIAPrA— @CornwallFRS 22 December 2012
Water levels remain critical in Helston, emergency services working hard to protect the public and homes. http://t.co/lfroq2Dw— @OldCattleMarket 22 December 2012
Helston aid charity ShelterBox has called in a response team to help those affected by the flooding in its home town.
This garden in the St John's area of Helston has been completely submerged (via @WRadfordGaby)
Update from Cornwall Fire Control - 23 fire engines in Cornwall at incidents and all available officers, with an additional high volume pump for Helston requested
Concerns that the situation could worsen later on in Helston hence request for additional High Volume Pump— @CornwallCFO 22 December 2012
Specialist water rescue crews are now carrying out door to door visits in Helston to offer support to local residents #ccfloods— @CornwallCouncil 22 December 2012
Firefighters at work clearing the flood waters from outside the Helston Lidl. (Courtesy of @WRadfordGaby)
Helston mayoress Wendy Radford-Gaby took this picture of the flood level gauge in the River Cober earlier this afternoon.
Water appears to be running at the eight foot mark.
Helston-based disaster relief charity ShelterBox are providing blankets for those residents who have been evacuated to the re-opened rest centre at Epworth Hall.
Might have to go to Helston. Anyone got any scuba gear?— @5pFunk 22 December 2012
Gutted about Helston. Many happy summer holidays spent in Cornwall and at Flambards Village.— @antonialou 22 December 2012
The Met Office amber weather warning for Cornwall is in place until late on Christmas Eve.
"Given that the ground is already saturated, the public should be prepared for the risk of localised flooding from both rivers and surface water," the chief forecaster said.
"This could well lead to disruption to travel, with a low likelihood of severe disruption."
Shoutout to all Emergency services working in Devon and Cornwall today doing a terrific job in this flooding,great support stay safe guys .— @Newquaysgt 22 December 2012
Firefighters are reported to be pumping as much as 8,000 litres of water a minute from the St John's area.
Firefighters try to save a house in St Johns Road, Helston from flooding:
Photo courtesy of Kathy White.
Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service are reporting a "high volume of calls to flooding related incidents across Cornwall."
Their response is "being proritised based on life risk," according to a spokeswoman.
Cornwall Fire and Rescue service is reported to be bringing in a second high volume pump to the county, which is due to arrive from Avon within the next three hours.
Once again my poor little town is under attack from the elements. Parts of Helston currently underwater. Well done authorities, good pumping— @KernowBeachBum 22 December 2012
@PacketEmma Thanks! Just parking now to go - have sent man with boots! Packet reporters keeping Helston in Turkey!! #LoveHelston!— @vegipasty 22 December 2012
Water level has risen visibly on St Johns Street, Helston #flood #helstonfloods— @Ashhugo 22 December 2012
The Epworth Hall has been set up as a rescue centre for people forced to leave their homes due to flooding.
Around 200 residents were advised to leave their homes at 3am today, but most chose to stay and sit it out. The situation may change in the coming hours, however, as rain continues to fall.
Helston resident Stina Nicholson took this picture of St John's Road about half an hour ago:
The Environment Agency already has three pumps working to clear water from Loe Pool and is reported to be bringing in three more pumps this afternoon.
Flooding in Helston is reportedly getting worse, as heavy rain continues to batter the town - causing water levels to rise further.
Cornwall Council has posted advice to people whose homes are being affected by flooding:
• Turn off the electricity supply at the mains, if you can do so safely.
• Get out of the water - move family and pets upstairs or to higher ground.
• Make sure all electrical circuits are fully dried out and checked by an electrical engineer after the flood, before switching back on.
• Do not attempt to turn off the electricity supply while standing in water.
For more information visit www.cornwall.gov.uk