Freak weather wreaks havoc in student hotspots

Exeter region lashed by high winds, strong waves and heavy rain

Dawlish Exeter Flooding Teignmouth the tab the tab exeter Topsham

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Come late May, when most exams are over, a number of sun-and-fun-seeking Exeter students journey across every year to Topsham, Dawlish and Teignmouth, three of Devon’s most popular coastal towns.

For the past few days, though, following an amber weather warning from the Met Office, 70mph winds and heavy rain have swept across these seaside locations, causing widespread damage.

Dawlish seafront: a scene of destruction

In Topsham, with the high-tide spilling over the sea wall, sandbags barricaded the front-doors of dozens of coastal homes, prompting local residents to comment on the community’s Blitz-like spirit.

In Teignmouth, after waves reportedly rose as high as the buildings constructed on top of it, there are now concerns over the structure of the town’s pier, which appears allowing water through.

The aftermath of Topsham’s high-tide

Out of the three South West towns, Dawlish has been the most adversely effected. As the BBC reported, a large section of the sea wall collapsed on Tuesday, causing significant damage to the adjacent railway.

In Exemouth, meanwhile, after strong winds upturned an ice-cream stand, Royal Navy bomb disposal experts were called in to deal with a smoke grenade, one that dated back to World War II.

A wave-battered, unstable ice-cream kiosk in Dawlish

Quoted in the Express & Echo, Nick Cross, a Petty Officer Driver, said: “The passer-by who discovered the ordnance did the right thing in calling the authorities.

“We were then tasked to attend to dispose of the grenade. We identified it as a smoke grenade in poor condition due to being weathered.

The strength of the waves: enough to bend metal

“We made it safe and are transporting it for safe disposal through a controlled explosion in a location we use for this kind of event, away from the public.”

With the Met Office predicting up to 40mm of rainfall across the Exeter region on Friday evening, the bad weather is set to continue until the end of the week. Get yourselves some wellies, Exeter students.

Waves crash against the Dawlish seafront

Clearly, not a day for a casual coastal stroll (Dawlish)

Take cover, gents (Dawlish)

The waves swirl around the pier’s structure (Dawlish)

If they weren’t wet before, they certainly were after this shot

The waves crash agains the Dawlish coast

The sea wall in Dawlish

Darkness descends in Teignmouth