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Here come the floods
LARGE parts of Oxfordshire were warned to expect flooding last night as river levels continue to rise.
Oxford, Witney and South Oxfordshire residents were urged to take immediate action by the Environment Agency, which also warned of strong winds with gusts of more than 50mph.
Sandbags were dropped off and flood defences put up following heavy rainfall across the county.
Police urged people to take care on flooded pathways after a man died when his mobility scooter went into the River Thames in Oxford on Saturday night.
A flood warning – meaning flooding is imminent – was issued by the agency for the Thames at New Botley, New and North Hinksey, and Grandpoint on Saturday night and remains in place.
- The Environment Agency scramble to put up flood defences around North Stree and West Street at Osney island in Oxford
It said homes at Iffley Lock, New Botley and Hinksey are at risk of flooding. Warnings are also in place for the River Windrush around Witney; the Thames around Buscot Wick, West Oxfordshire and through South Oxfordshire, including Benson and Wallingford; and the River Thame at Dorchester.
The Met Office said another 20mm of rain was expected to fall in Oxfordshire today and tomorrow.
Showers, some heavy are expected today and tonight, with more tomorrow and on Wednesday night before drier weather at the end of the week.
Yesterday afternoon Environment Agency staff installed flood barriers along the River Thames and at Osney Island in Oxford, close to the scene of the death on Saturday night.
Residents and businesses in areas at risk were able to collect free supplies of sandbags at four collection points in Oxford and at Dorchester and Adderbury, where the Sor Brook was on flood alert.
A number of roads were closed last night, including the High Street in Clifton Hampden in South Oxfordshire and the road into Woodeaton from the B4027 north-east of Oxford, to Elsfield.
Also closed were Lower Road and Mill Road in Islip; London Lane in Ascott-under-Wychwood; Barford Road, between Barford St John and Barford St Michael, and the A417 at Challow.
- The River Windrush at Crawley, just north of Witney
Flood warning signs were put up yesterday at Main Street at Clanfield, in West Oxfordshire; Bloxham Road in Banbury and the B4035 at Broughton Lane, west of Banbury.
Environment Agency spokeswoman Hayley Willoughby said last night: “Teams have been on the ground around the clock operating pumping stations, issuing flood warnings and checking that flood banks, walls and barriers are working effectively.
“We urge communities to prepare in advance by signing up for free flood warnings and to take action if they receive one.”
Oxfordshire County Council’s emergency planning officer, Bethan Morgan, said that people living in areas at risk should “take steps now to protect property” and said flooding could cause power cuts.
She said: “If you see warning signs either on the road or tow-paths please take notice. They are there for a reason.”
- Andy Gibbons and Kevin Singleton, of Oxford City Council, fill sandbags at Seaton park-and-ride centre yesterday
Oxford Flood Alliance chairman Peter Rawcliffe said that he and his neighbours in South Hinksey gave up their Saturday nights to prepare defences.
He said: “We put our flood barriers in place around the doors, lifted some of the furniture off the floor and put yoghurt pots around the feet of some of the other furniture.
“It took about four of us an hour getting everything ready, including being outside in the cold.” He added: “I know neighbours have been helping each other out, people have been pulling together as they do in a small community like this.”
Residents in Fewcott, north of Bicester, had already put out sandbags before the first warning was announced, in a bid to avoid the repeat of floods which affected the village in November 2012.
- Fields under water alongside the River Cherwell at Lower Heyford
Account manager Stephanie Bearne, 64, whose home was flooded in 2012, said: “You don’t understand the impact flooding has until it affects you. I live in fear every time it rains.
“It was a heartbreaking experience and took months to put right. I was covered by insurance, but I had to wait for the water to go down before they could rip out the carpets.”
She had built a sandbag barrier at the end of her garden, which is next to a brook that has been swollen by the recent rainfall.
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SUPPLIES of sandbags for homes and businesses at risk of flooding were available last night at the following locations:
- Seacourt park-and-ride, Botley Road, Oxford.
- Redbridge park-and-ride, Abingdon Road, Oxford.
- The Duke of Monmouth pub, Abingdon Road, Oxford.
- South Hinksey, opposite the village hall.
- Dog Close, Adderbury Dorchester
- Clifton Hampden High Street
IF you are at risk of flooding, take the following precautions: Fit flood boards on doors, use sandbags, and fit toilet bungs on downstairs toilets.
- Put plugs in sinks and baths and weigh them down with a pillowcase or plastic bag filled with soil.
- Switch off water, gas and electricity at the mains when water is about to enter your home.
- Do not touch sources of electricity when standing in water.
- Disconnect equipment that uses water, like washing machines and dishwashers.
- Avoid walking or driving through flood water.
The latest advice and details of current flood alerts and warnings are available at environment-agency.gov.uk or call the agency’s Floodline number, 0845 988 1188.
- Flood warnings, where flooding is expected, applied last night on the Thames in Oxford and from Buscot Wick to Shefford and from Little Wittenham to Wallingford and South Stoke, as well as the Windrush at Witney and the Thame at Dorchester.
- Flood alerts, where flooding is possible, applied on the River Cherwell from Cropedy to Oxford; River Cole from Shrivenham to Buscot Wick; River Evenlode from Moreton-in-Marsh to Cassington; River Glyme at Wootton and Woodstock; River Leach; River Ock from Watchfield to Abingdon; River Ray from Shipton Lee to Islip; River Thame; River Thames from Shefford to Oxford and at Abingdon; River Windrush, from Burford to Witney and Hardwick to Newbridge; Chalgrove Brook; Ginge Brook; Letcombe Brook; Langford and Wendlebury Brooks; Clanfield Brook; Shill Brook at Bampton; Sor Brook and Bloxham Brook.
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