Storm Ciarán well and truly made its presence known in the South West this week. Residents in Devon and Cornwall faced strong winds and heavy rain, knocking down trees, causing flooding, and even closing schools.
Rain and wind swept across the county, with the South West receiving both yellow and amber weather warnings from the Met Office.
A Met Office spokesperson said: “It is very likely that there will be a risk to life, with substantial disruption to travel, energy supplies and possibly widespread damage to property and infrastructure.”
Following the release of this warning, hundreds of schools in the area made the decision to close their doors to students on Thursday, November 2. Among the schools to close was Launceston College.
Making the announcement, headteacher Jenn Burn said: “After carefully reviewing the advice provided by our neighbouring Devon Local Authority concerning school closures, Launceston College has been left with no alternative but to close our school tomorrow, Thursday, November 2. This decision is due to the severe weather conditions and associated risks predicted for Cornwall.
“The safety and well-being of our students, staff, and their families are our utmost priorities, and we firmly believe that closing the school is in the best interests of our school community.
“The decision to close the school has not been made lightly, and we understand the impact it may have on your daily routines. However, the unpredictable nature of this weather system, combined with the life-threatening risks it presents, reinforces the necessity of this action.”
However, students weren’t the only ones affected by Storm Ciarán’s visit — those travelling also faced difficulties. Wet conditions, flooded roads and downed trees caused havoc.
Those hoping to use public transport weren’t having much luck either. Storm Ciarán forced changes to planned rail services, eventually leading to the cancellation of all Devon and Cornwall routes.
During the storm’s peak on Thursday, November 2, a Great Western Railway spokesperson said: “Due to severe weather between Newton Abbot and Penzance all lines are closed. Train services running to and from these stations will be cancelled. Disruption is expected until the end of the day.”
Much of the concern around conditions centred on potential flooding due to heavy rain.
One area fearful of floods was Bude. A spokesperson from the Environment Agency said: “Flooding is possible throughout the day on Thursday. Further heavy rain associated with Storm Ciarán is forecast through Thursday morning, with 20-30mm expected between 6am and noon, accompanied by strong gale force winds. Flooding to low lying land and roads close to rivers is possible.”