A severe weather warning has seen Sidmouth Folk Festival’s popular Friday night torchlit procession and fireworks cancelled.
Organisers announced the decision today (Thursday, August 8) and said it was ‘in the interests of public safety’.
Heavy rain and strong winds are forecast for Friday and Saturday – with the South West the subject of a yellow warning for gusts of up to 60mph.
A folk festival spokesperson said today: “Due to the forecast weather conditions, The Sidmouth Folk Festival has, with regret, cancelled Friday’s torchlight procession and fireworks, in the interests of public safety.”
Huge crowds normally line The Esplanade to enjoy the final night Sidmouth Folk Festival fireworks and torchlit procession.
The Met Office’s warning for the South West on Friday states: “Unseasonably strong southwesterly winds are expected to cause some disruption. Gusts of 40-50 mph are expected inland and to around 60 mph around the coasts – particularly in association with heavy showers.”
Devon County Council is asking road users to travel with care this weekend, as strong winds and heavy rain are forecast.
Rain tonight (Thursday), leading to thundery showers in places on Friday and Saturday, coupled with gusts reaching 50-60mph could make weekend driving conditions hazardous.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, member responsible for highways, said: “The weather is already having an impact on plans, as we’re seeing organised events cancelled or postponed across the region due to the unseasonal forecast.
“Strong winds are likely to make driving difficult for high-sided vehicles and caravans, and trees are also likely to feel the impact.
“Gusts will bring down tree debris, and could bring down branches and indeed any trees that may already be in a weakened state.
“Rain as well, heavy at times Friday, could cause localised surface flooding on roads.
“We’re asking people to remember not to attempt to drive through roads that have been temporarily closed, or floodwater, and to be aware of the likelihood of debris on the highway.
“Motorists should drive with caution and remember in wet conditions stopping distances will increase.
“Plan your journey this weekend and allow extra time.
“Our contractors are on standby with extra resources to cope with the conditions. We’ll be closely monitoring the highway around the clock throughout the weekend.”
For more information and to stay up to date on any issues on Devon’s roads, follow @DevonAlert on Twitter.
Devon and Cornwall Police is also urging extra caution after the Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for South West England.
Chief Superintendent Sam de Reya said: “We can expect some unsettled weather across Devon and Cornwall which starts on Thursday, August 8, through to Saturday, August 10. With this in mind I would urge the public to think about their plans this weekend and adapt them accordingly.
“Conditions will be very wet and we are expecting high winds so we are asking people, especially those who are visiting the area, to stay away from the coast and stay out of the sea.
“Many coastal areas may become hazardous due to rainfall and thunderstorms, therefore extra caution should be taken.”
Police are reminding people of the following advice:
- Avoid areas along the coastline and going into the sea;
- Carefully consider camping trips and traveling without accommodation already booked;
- Allow additional time for your journey and drive to the conditions of the road;
- Listen to local radio for updates on current weather conditions;
- Be aware that many planned events and festivals in the Devon and Cornwall may have been cancelled.