At least twelve people were rescued from floods in Cornwall last night.
Lostwithiel took the full force of a deluge that raged throughout the night, causing chaos on roads and highways and damaging hundreds of properties.
Two emergency centres were opened in Lostwithiel and although residents chose to stay at home, 25 people left their details.
Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service fielded 215 calls since midnight as tides rose to flood at 1am.
There was flooding in dozens of areas but particularly Millbrook, Looe, Par, Wadebridge and Torpoint.
On Friday night in Lostwithiel the RNLI put out two lifeboats, a D class inshore lifeboat and an Arancia inshore rescue boat and assisted 12 people, 2 dogs and 6 cats.
The 13 strong team was made up of 11 volunteer lifeboat crew members from St Agnes, Looe and Rock in Cornwall, Dartmouth in Devon, Lyme Regis in Dorset and Weston super Mare in Somerset.
In the early hours of this morning in Devon one woman made a miraculous escape from torrential floodwaters.
Vanessa Glover, from South Molton, was left stranded on the roof of her car after it was trapped by floodwater in Umberleigh, North Devon.
She clung to the branch of a tree for almost an hour, after her husband Paul and seven-year-old son were rescued as their car sank in the rising waters.
She’d climbed on to the roof, but been swept away, before grabbing on to the tree.
RNLI Commander Robin Goodlad said; ‘This was a very heroic rescue, there are no two ways about it.’
He explained: “The woman had been in a car with her husband and son when they were trapped by flood water.
“The husband and son were rescued by passers-by and the RNLI understands that the woman had tried to clamber to safety onto the top of the car but was swept away.
”She managed to grab hold of a branch and clung on while a police helicopter hovered overhead.
”Three men – Chris Missen and Paul Eastman from Porthcawl in Wales, and College trainer Martin Blaker-Rowe then took a ‘huge risk’ and looked for the woman.
These three volunteers were working in complete darkness, in an environment they had never been in before and ideally this should have been a two-boat operation.
“They had only a pinpoint light of the police helicopter to locate the woman.
‘They got the woman into the boat.
“She had been in the water for 50 minutes and the guys are gobsmacked that she is alive.
“If they had not picked her up in that boat she would have been floating away downstream.
‘They were fully aware of the risks. This was a high risk operation with a high benefit and they decided to get on with it.’
Robin had a Flood Rescue Team (FRT) of 10 people from Poole and four volunteers were called in from south Wales as the RNLI helped joined forces in rescue operations in Devon.
Robin added, ‘We had a few house to house rescues, nothing out of the ordinary, in Barnstaple where four people were rescued from their homes.’
They had also given trauma care to a woman who was involved in a car accident which the RNLI came across near Yeovil as they were heading out to help in flooded areas.
His team, which also used a D class lifeboat, was stood down at 4am today (Sun 23 Dec).
Thirty people in two teams of RNLI volunteers totalling nearly 30 people worked throughout much of Saturday night with other emergency services.
Elsewhere across the two counties RNLI crews:
*Rescued four people from flooded homes in Barnstaple. *Rescued 12 people, two dogs and six cats at Lostwithiel. *Gave trauma care treatment to a woman in a car accident near Yeovil.