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News Archive > General > Newquay area battered by storm

Newquay area battered by storm

By Simon Fernley 11th February 2016

Newquay area battered by storm

A big clear up operation is underway after the Newquay area was battered by the elements, which caused extensive damage, injuries and traffic chaos.

Torrential downpours on Saturday morning led to roads being closed due to flash flooding, which was closely followed by Storm Imogen leaving a trail of destruction on Monday morning and storm surges in the afternoon whipped up by 50 to 60-foot waves out to sea.

A middle-aged couple were knocked off their feet and swept along South Quay at Newquay Harbour whilst photographing the stormy conditions just after 4pm on Monday, after a large wave came over the harbour wall, which left the woman with multiple head injuries and a broken arm.

The woman was swept more than 50 feet along the walkway and into one of the boats that is laid-up on the quay for the winter. Her partner was washed a shorter distance across the quay and into railings, which fortunately stopped him being swept into the harbour. Four of Newquay’s RNLI lifeboat volunteers and a local charter-boat skipper saw the incident and immediately helped the couple.

RNLI paramedic Christian Brown gave the woman first aid before she was taken to the Royal Cornwall Hospital by ambulance for further treatment while her partner was taken into the lifeboat station to warm up and dry out. Three five-tonne fishing boats that were standing on the quay for the winter were moved more than 10 feet by the force of the waves coming over the harbour wall from the Towan Beach side, which left fishing gear strewn across the harbour. Wave watchers standing nearby were fortunate to come away uninjured.

Mr Brown warned: “ My message to people is not to put themselves at risk when the sea is treacherous. There is nothing wrong with watching the waves, but people should watch from a safe distance.”

Beachgoers walking their dog at Mawgan Porth were fortunate after they were caught out by a wave surge, which knocked a woman off her feet.

Businesses along the Newquay coastline put in precautionary measures to protect their premises from the storm surges. The Lusty Glaze restaurant and beach cafe was boarded up, as were the beach huts at Tolcarne. The buildings were hit by waves but managed to escape any extensive damage.

Andy Millson, the manager at Lusty Glaze, said: “We moved all the benches on the lower deck, tied everything down and boarded everything up the best we could. The surges were pretty dramatic but it has not been as bad as it was two years ago where we suffered extensive damage. The waves have managed to move our shed along but it looks like we have got away with it this time around.”

The Mermaid Inn at Porth escaped the worst of the tidal surges but the beer garden and car park were swamped with sand.

The rock armour installed at Fistral Beach did its job, breaking up the waves before they could smash into the surf complex. The car park was closed off after the powerful high winds created huge mounds of sand. A vehicle parked at Fistral Beach car park was almost completely covered by sand earlier on Monday. The owner later managed to dig his vehicle out with the help of volunteers. A Smart Parking camera at the car park was also blown over by the strong winds.

Scaffolding was blown over at a development being constructed at Ulalia Road at the former Grantham Astor Hotel site in the early hours of Monday, which spilled planks and metal tubing onto the street. The road was closed for a time while the debris was cleared. Elsewhere residents were woken in the middle of the night when a wall off Jubilee Street was blown over by the wind and just missed a car.

A lorry parked at Trevemper Road was blown on its side, damaging a fence, while a boat being kept at the Gannel Estuary broke its moorings and ended up three-quarters-of-a-mile upstream opposite the boating lake. The owner managed to retrieve his vessel before it was swept away by the incoming tide after he was traced through social media.

Cormac employee Denver Delves had a lucky escape while driving along the airport road through Carnanton Woods after a two-tonne tree fell into the path of his pick-up truck. The road was later closed when further trees were blown over by the gale force winds.

Mr Delves said: “I was driving along and then all of a sudden the tree came crashing down. There was no noise. The tree just went over. I’m thankful I’m still alive because if a tree weighing a couple of tonnes came down on the vehicle, I wouldn’t have stood a chance.”

Skybus flights between Newquay and the Isles of Scilly were cancelled for a time on Monday due to the gale force winds and there was disruption to rail services on the branch line between Newquay and Par due to floodwater on the tracks.

The weather chaos started on Saturday morning when heavy rain flooded roads and caused rivers to burst their banks, which trapped people in their homes. Edgcumbe Avenue by the viaduct was closed after the river alongside the boating lake overflowed. A torrent of river water flooded across the road and caused damage to the footpath near the bridge at Trenance Cottages.

Residents living in properties next to Newquay View Resort at Porth were trapped by the rising flood water, which closed the road. Andrew Laming said: “The stream flooded across the road and we were trapped in our house. We could not even drive out in our van because the water was waist high. We had to wait for the water to subside before we could go anywhere.”

Properties at Trevemper Mill were in danger of being surrounded by floodwater after the Gannel burst its banks. A resident said: “The floodwater came half way up the road and then receded. It did not reach any of the houses.

“We were made aware by the previous owner that some of the houses were flooded two years ago before we moved here. Some properties are more vulnerable than others. We have a wall at the front and back of our property, so there are precautions in place.”
The A3059 was closed after floodwater made a stretch impassable just past the
Aerohub.

Several motorists had to have their cars towed out after their engines failed while
attempting to drive through the deluge. Newquay Fire Brigade was in attendance to pump out the floodwater.

Firefighter Martin Murt said: “Water run off from the surrounding fields has caused a dip in the road to flood so the road has been closed.
“Some vehicles had to be towed out after engines conked out.

“We used a monitor to pump out 1,750 litres of water a minute. We have got a safety initiative running at the moment #Turn Around Don’t Drown due to the severe weather.”

The roads at Kestle Mill as well as between Dairyland and Gummows Shop became almost impassable due to the floodwater. Vehicles had to take turns to travel down the middle of the road slowly to get through.
tretches along Alexandra Road, Rialton Road and Trenance Avenue were also flooded. Resident Tommy Gee’s car became partially submerged at Trenance Avenue. He is now calling on Cornwall Council to ensure drains are not blocked.

Mr Gee said: “Last year the section flooded because of the contour of the road. It did not get so high this time but I could not get to my vehicle without wearing my wellies. I had to leave it a while until the water drained away.

“The problem is the U-bend in the drain causes it to block easily. I have in the past pulled a lot of muck out but it should be kept clear.”

By Simon Fernley 11th February 2016

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