UK – Emergency Rescues After Flash Floods in South West England

Parts of south west England were once again under water after a period of heavy rainfall that began during the evening of 02 September 2017. This is the second flood event to hit Cornwall in 6 weeks.

Fire services were called on to make several flood rescues after drivers were trapped in vehicles on flooded roads. According to Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service, emergency teams were called out to incidents in St. Kew, St Trudy, Bolventor, Lansallos and Canworthy Water. All incidents involved vehicles stranded on flooded roads, often with drivers trapped inside.

Some roads were under as much as 3 feet / 90 cm of water, according to Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service reports. Several roads were closed as a result and authorities issued warnings to road users to avoid attempting to drive through flood water.

Surface flooding was reported in the towns of Looe, Polperro, Fowey, Launceston and Bodmin.

Flood rescue in Cornwall, UK, September 2017: Credit: Bude Fire Station
Flood rescue in Cornwall, UK, September 2017: Credit: St Austell CFRS

Rainfall

The flooding came after a period of heavy rain. Of the main weather stations in England, Plymouth recorded the highest rainfall in UK with 48.4 mm in 24 hours, 02 to 03 September, 2017. Plymouth is about 35 km south west of Bolventor.

According to data from Shoothill Gauge Map Bodmin recorded 52.1 mm in 24 hours on 03 September. Luxulyan recorded 52.9 mm and De Lank (St Breward) 55.4 mm during the same period.

Rivers

A spokesman from the Environment Agency told the BBC that “all flood defences in the area were holding and no rivers had broken their banks. He said the flooding was thought to be largely “surface water” caused by blocked drains and heavy rainfall.”

The River Fowey at Restormel jumped from 0.3 metres to 1.03 metres on 03 September, but was still below flood stage of around 1.5 metres. The Pol River at Polperro reached 0.46 m on the same day, but again still under flood stage.

Coverack

This is the second flood event in Cornwall in 6 weeks. Major flash flooding hit the coastal village of Coverack in Cornwall, on 18 July, 2017. Torrents of water over 1 metre deep swept through the village after a period of heavy rain. Flood water and debris made roads in and out of the village impassable. Two people trapped in their home had to be rescued by a coastguard helicopter.

Flood Summary

Last updated: September 11, 2017
Event
South West England, September 2017
Date
September 2 to September 3, 2017
Type
Flash flood, Inland flood
Cause
Extreme rainfall

Locations

A - St. Kew
B - St Trudy
C - Bolventor
D - Lansallos
E - Canworthy Water
F - Looe
G - Polperro

Magnitude

Rainfall level
52.1 mm in 24 hours
Bodmin - September 3 to September 3, 2017
Rainfall level
52.9 mm in 24 hours
Luxulyan - September 3 to September 3, 2017
Rainfall level
55.4 mm in 24 hours
De Lank (St Breward) - September 3 to September 3, 2017

Damages

Rescued
6 people
September 2 to September 4, 2017

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