Road users are being urged to take extra care from tonight (Wednesday) through to Thursday afternoon after the Met Office issued an Amber ‘risk to life’ warning, forecasting high winds and rain across the county.
Storm Ciaran is landing in Devon with strong winds expected from this evening and peaking between 3am Thursday morning and at least lunchtime that day, with the clean up likley to last for some time after that.
Rain of up to 40mm, (80mm on Dartmoor) on already sodden ground, is expected across Devon, while winds of between 60 and 75 mph predicted.
As a precaution Devon County Council is closing all of its Household Waste and Recycling Centres during Thursday as there is a Health & Safety risk from flying debris for both residents and site staff.
Many schools may also close - to check if your child’s school is closed, please visit the dedicated DCC webpage.
You can find out if the bus service used for school transport is operating by also visiting the DCC website.
Coastal flooding is a particular concern; Slapton, Exmouth, Sidmouth, Teignmouth, Dawlish Warren and Westward Ho! are particularly vulnerable.
Currently there is an Amber warning in place – however the strength of the storm could mean that the alert status is upgraded.
One concern is that the winds could bring down trees and block roads and cause damage to property.
The storm will also blow leaves off trees which could then block gullies and drains, leading to localised highway flooding.
The public should not walk or drive through flood water as there is a risk of engines becoming inundated or encountering manhole covers that have been dislodged or are missing.
Devon County Council has drafted in extra staff into its control centre to monitor the network, and Devon Highways has placed more teams on standby to deal with any issues that may arise.
We have 32 teams of tree surgeons and 12 emergency call-out gangs with additional jetters on standby.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “The Met Office has warned about the potential of extremely strong winds. There is a high chance of trees being brought down blocking roads and branches and other debris being blown about. Please take extra care and be prepared to expect the unexpected such as highways flooding.
“Additional staff will be on duty to cope with any increase in calls to the control centre and Devon Highways will have extra teams ready to call upon if needed. If you're out on Devon's roads, particularly when its dark, please allow more time for your journey and drive according to conditions. Keep up to date with the latest conditions by tuning in to travel updates and weather forecasts and please plan your journey.”
Devon County Council is reminding people of the following advice: • Avoid overnight travel unless absolutely essential as roads will always be more hazardous at night with poorer visibility; • Be alert to fallen trees and branches, particularly on minor roads where they may not have been reported; • Consider if your journey is essential and be alert to weather warnings; • Never drive through floodwater or swollen flowing water, you don’t know how deep it is. Find an alternative route; • Allow additional time for your journey; • Reduce your speed and leave more space between you and the vehicle in front and leave plenty of room if you’re overtaking; • Drive with care and according to the conditions. For more information, travel advice and updates follow @DevonAlert on Twitterand Facebook.