VIDEO: Plymouth braced for more rain after flooding over the weekend
THE storm-lashed city was this morning braced for more punishment as a new weather system swept in from the Atlantic.
Scores of people were evacuated from flooded homes as more than two inches of rain fell between midnight on Friday and Sunday morning.
And heavy showers overnight and today threatened new misery as people in and around Plymouth began cleaning up their flooded homes and businesses.
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About 60 people were evacuated from a dozen areas in the city, mostly in Colebrook and The Ride.
And across at Millbrook on the Rame peninsula about a hundred people spent the night in a local church after their homes were flooded.
Council leader Tudor Evans said last night: "It's hell out there."
A Met Office spokeswoman said 56.8mm of rain fell on Plymouth between midnight on Saturday and Sunday morning.
That was exceeded only by St Mary in the Isles of Scilly.
She said heavy showers moving in today would be focused on the south.
If Plymouth was unlucky it could be hit by a series of heavy showers and, with the ground saturated, a risk of more severe flooding.
Across Devon and Cornwall, around 250 properties were hit by floods over the weekend, and more than 150 people were evacuated.
Up to 50 roads were shut on Saturday and 20 A and B roads remained closed yesterday.
Hopes that one of Plymouth's main commuter routes might finally return to normal were quickly dashed on Saturday when Gdynia Way was again closed to traffic.
Superintendent Sarah Sharpe, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said: "We would ask people only to travel if they really have to and to stay away from swollen rivers and streams.
"Please do not walk into flood water – it is exceptionally dangerous.
"And don't be tempted to drive into floodwater even if you think you can make it to the other side.
"The roads remain a risk in many areas due to surface water and flooding, abandoned vehicles, debris and fallen tree branches.
"We are expecting more rain and our message to people is to stay indoors, stay safe and be cautious."
The Met Office spokeswoman said a band of persistent rain overnight should move through quickly, to be followed by heavy showers.
"We are not expecting anything like Saturday's rain, but it's hard to predict with showers," she said. "In any one area you might get several or you might get none."
The spokeswoman said the amount of rain was not unusual for the time of year.
"But we have had two or three intense bands over a short period," she added.
"We've had more than our fair share and the ground hasn't had time to recover.
"That is going to be the problem on Monday. Ordinarily we wouldn't be worried about the amount of rain we're expecting, but the ground is saturated."
Cllr Evans thanked the emergency services, council staff, South West Water and the Environment Agency, who he said had helped to "stem a relentless tide".
"A lot of people have been saying they can never remember rain like it," he said.
"We are dealing with an exceptional weather event. It's hell out there."
He warned the public to travel only if absolutely necessary, and then to be cautious and listen to advice.
"Any rain that falls now will be falling on saturated ground," Cllr Evans added.
"We'll be watching the weather forecasts anxiously, but we just have to deal with what nature throws at us."
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said it had dealt with more than 500 incidents of flooding during Saturday and Sunday morning, and more than 1,200 in the past five days.
The rain also hit rail services, with buses replacing Cross Country services between Exeter and Bristol.
Diversions were in place between Exeter and Yeovil, and Network Rail said the line between Tiverton and Exeter would be closed until at least today.
The Environment Agency said between 90 and 100 properties had been flooded in Cornwall, while across the South West, more than 300 homes had been affected.
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