Clean-up begins after flash flooding causes destruction
A yellow weather warning is in place right through the day for large swathes of England and Wales.
The clean-up operation has begun across pockets of the country after localised flooding caused by thunderstorms brought destruction to communities.
Council leaders have pledged “money won’t be a problem” to repair the worst-hit areas, including Coverack in west Cornwall, which saw people winched to safety from their homes as floodwaters coursed through narrow lanes and turned roads into rivers.
This elderly couple in Cornwall had to be rescued from their home by helicopter after flash floods hit Cornwall yesterday pic.twitter.com/G9rUZwR5bz— Press Association (@PA) July 19, 2017
Other communities remain on standby, with the threat of further heavy downpours and the risk of disruption to power networks from lightning strikes.
A yellow weather warning is in place through the day for large swathes of England and Wales, with the Met Office predicting a month’s worth of rain could fall in some places in a matter of hours.
Water had to be pumped out of a number of properties in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, after the fire service received more than 60 calls to the 999 line within an hour.
Crazy storm in Tunbridge Wells. Never seen so much lightning and heard so much thunder. pic.twitter.com/kS6VaISQhG— David K E Morgan (@dkemorgan) July 19, 2017
In Sussex, fire crews received 57 calls about flooding through the night.
Cambridgeshire Police said the adverse weather conditions caused problems with its non-emergency 101 service.
The flash-flooding in Coverack was the worst to hit Cornwall during the summer since the Boscastle disaster in 2004, in which 440 million gallons of water swept through the town, causing millions of pounds worth of damage and leaving some residents too traumatised to talk about what they saw.
The cost of repairs and insurance in Coverack is already estimated to be over £1 million, with structural damage to roads and buildings in the area.
Residents and business owners affected have already been told council reserves will be used to help repair the damage.
Adam Paynter, leader of Cornwall Council, told BBC Radio Cornwall: “With things like this, money won’t be a problem – we do have reserves we can use for this type of incident.”
Speaking from the west Cornwall village, he added: “It’s been absolutely unbelievable to see. I think it’s going to take a little while to get this sorted out and tidied up but obviously the main thing is that nobody’s been injured and everybody is okay in the village.
“The council and the emergency services have done a great job, they’ve been here all night to ensure that everybody is safe and they are doing what they can to make sure everything can get back to normal as soon as possible.”
Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service said crews remained in Coverack on Wednesday morning.
Meanwhile, forecasters predicted other parts of the country could also be affected.
Commuters in the Midlands and east of England have been warned about torrential downpours, while those in north-east Wales and the North West will bear the brunt this afternoon, Steven Keates from the Met Office said.