Britain braced for more storms and flooding
Hundreds of homes damaged from Cornwall to Scotland
Storm damage sustained by the promenade in Aberystwyth, West Wales. Photograph: Dimitris Legakis/EPA
Further storms, high tides and gale-force winds are expected across many parts of the UK over the weekend as communities already hit by a trail of devastation begin to assess the damage.
Hundreds of homes have been flooded from Cornwall to Scotland, with huge swathes of coastline battered and roads and fields across the country left under water.
The Met Office has issued yellow warnings of rain in the south of England and snow in the north of England and southern parts of Scotland. Up to 30mm (1.1in) of rain could fall in just six hours, and there are more warnings of flooding and travel disruption.
Residents in Chiswell and Portland in Weymouth, Dorset, were forced out of their homes ahead of high tide last night, while around 100 people living in Aberystwyth, Dyfed, were advised to move to higher ground, with many taking shelter in rest centres.
Meanwhile, searches resumed this morning in south Devon for missing 18-year-old Harry Martin — with more than 100 people volunteering to look for him. The university student was last seen on Thursday afternoon leaving his home in Newton Ferrers, near Plymouth, to take photographs of the bad weather.
Two people have already died in the storms. A 27-year-old man from Surrey was found on Porthleven Sands beach in Cornwall after he was swept out to sea on New Year’s Eve night, and a woman died after being rescued from the sea in Croyde Bay, north Devon.
The ferocious weather has left widespread damage. In Aberystwyth debris was strewn across the promenade, rail lines in north Wales were left buckled by the power of the sea and a road collapsed in Amroth, Pembrokeshire.
Aberystwyth University student Millie Farmer said the town’s promenade was a “complete mess”.
Emergency services rescued four people from a flooded farm in Llanbedr near Barmouth, north west Wales, the River Severn burst its banks in Gloucestershire and a pregnant woman was rescued after 30 properties were flooded in Cardigan, mid-Wales.
Officials around the country have pleaded with people to keep away as dozens put their life at risk by going to coastal areas to watch as the storm brought waves up to 12m high crashing on to land.
A man and child were almost swept away by a huge wave at Mullion Cove in Cornwall as they peered over the sea wall to watch the raging sea, and elsewhere in Cornwall vehicles driving on a coastal road were swamped and almost washed away by a tidal surge.
People across the UK, from Devon to Cumbria and Sussex, protected their homes with sand bags and flood gates as the waters rose around them.
This morning there were four severe flood warnings in place — meaning a danger to life — along the Severn Estuary in Gloucestershire and in Dorset, with a further 103 flood warnings and 237 flood alerts.
There are also delays at the Port of Dover because of force five winds, while the Highways Agency said the M48 Severn Crossing has been re-opened in both directions to all vehicles.
Trains have also suffered disruption with services from Newport and Bristol to the south coast affected by the weather.
Rail operator First Great Western was warning passengers that further rain and strong winds forecast for tomorrow afternoon “may result in further disruption affecting our routes in Devon and Cornwall”.