Almost 300 schools have closed across Devon as Storm Ciarán batters the county.

With an amber weather warning issued by the Met Office, indicating very strong north-westerly winds and a risk of damage to buildings and homes, as well as falling debris which “could result in a danger to life”, the vast majority of schools in the county have opted to close for safety reasons.

Devon County Council’s website shows 278 schools shut on Thursday because of the storm, with assessments of possible damage required at some point by individual schools to help them decide whether to open on Friday (October 3).

The council said it does not dictate about closures, with that decision up to schools.

The county council presents the facts and risks from the Met Office, it said, and then asks schools to make a decision on whether to close so that they can add their status to the school closure website.

Several messages sent out by schools to parents highlighted potentially dangerous combination of wind, rain, and the storm moving over warm seas that could increase the risk of very high winds, flooding, and trees falling.

Read more: List of East Devon schools closing to due extreme weather

Kingskerswell Primary School put a message on its website informing parents about its closure.

“Further to our earlier decision, we have made the decision that tomorrow we will close,” it said.

Devon County Council are saying that non-essential travel should be avoided, so in order to protect the safety of all members of our school community, we will be closed.”

Cheriton Bishop Community Primary School echoed worries about the bad weather, and informed parents that its planned parents evening would be rescheduled.

And Diptford Primary School let parents know via its Facebook page that it would be providing work via its online learning facilities for pupils to complete at home.

Beyond schools, Devon County Council said it had closed all of its household waste and recycling centres for the safety of staff and residents.

It also highlighted fears about coastal flooding, with Slapton, Exmouth, Sidmouth, Teignmouth, Dawlish Warren and Westward Ho! Highlighted as particularly vulnerable.

The county council urged people not to walk or drive through flood water because of the risk of engines flooding or cars getting stuck in manholes whose covers have been dislodged.

“Devon County Council has drafted in extra staff into its control centre to monitor the network, and Devon Highways has placed more teams on standby to deal with any issues that may arise,” a spokesperson for the authority said.

“We have 32 teams of tree surgeons and 12 emergency call-out gangs on standby.”