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Defences hold back flooding

THE SOUTH WEST was hit hardest by the weekend's extreme weather with heavy rain and winds gusting up to 185km/h on Sunday and Monday.

The Selsey peninsula in West Sussex saw 40 people evacuated and 1,000 residents cut off for a short time on Sunday, after the sea breached defences, flooding the only road to the town.

And despite emergency work to shore up the beach, some 30,000t of material was lost in just 20 minutes, the bill for which will run to tens of thousands of pounds.

But although there was widespread damage to property, recent strengthening of sea defences appeared to have minimised coastal damage. At Sidmouth, east Devon, where the entire beach was lost overnight during a 1989 storm, new 'rock island' coastal defences minimised shingle loss, with no significant damage to the sea wall or esplanade.

And the section of the south est coastal railway around Dawlish, which has undergone extensive protection works in recent years, also emerged relatively unscathed.

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