Update: Flood alerts increasing along the Thames as bad weather hits Oxfordshire + Live Blog (From Witney Gazette)
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Flood alerts in place as bad weather hits Oxfordshire
THE Environment Agency has this afternoon put more of the Thames on Flood Alert as the county continues to be hit by heavy rain and 50mph gusts of wind.
The Thames and its tributarites from Buscot Wick down to Kings Lock, above Oxford, are on Flood Alert - meaning people should be prepared for possible flooding - including Buscot, Kelmscott, Radcot, Chimney, Northmoor, Stanton Harcourt, Bablock Hythe and caravan park, Eynsham, Swinford and Yarnton.
The latest forecast for Oxford is that heavy rain will continue through to breakfast time tomorrow, along with a yellow warning about severe winds.
The rain is then forecast to die away for Christmas Eve. Christmas Day will see the odd shower, say forecasters.
First Great Western train services are facing delays after a tree fell across the line between Oxford and Worcester.
And drivers in Woodstock Road, North Oxford, have been facing delays after a tree fell across the road, near the entrance to St Edward's School, blocking the southbound carriageway at 1pm.
Southern Electric says about 600 homes in Witney and Chipping Norton are without power and engineers are working to get power restored.
Oxfordshire County Council is urging drivers to take care on the roads.
A spokesman said: “With strong gusts and prolonged spells of heavy rain forecast throughout the day and overnight into Christmas Eve, driving conditions are expected to be difficult and there is a risk of disruption to travel as a result of surface water flooding.
"River levels in Oxfordshire are also rising as a result of recent rainfall, and with much of the ground already saturated, there is an increased risk of flooding from rivers and water courses.
"The county is currently in the ‘low risk’ category according to the Environment Agency’s three-day flood forecast."
Oxfordshire County Council’s emergency planning officer Bethan Morgan added: “Today’s wet and windy weather is the last thing people want when they’re looking to get away for the Christmas holidays, and we would urge them to slow down and take extra care, especially where there is standing water on the roads. If in any doubt, never drive through flood water.”
She added: "Heavy rain is forecast to continue throughout the day and overnight – although thankfully, the outlook is better moving into Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we can’t rule out further periods of rain.
"People should refer to the Met Office and Environment Agency’s websites for advice, monitor television or radio forecasts and take appropriate steps to safeguard themselves and their property.
Chiltern Railways has told travellers to expect "severe disruption".
A spokesman said: “Network Rail has told us that they are likely to impose an emergency speed restriction of 50mph.
"This is half our normal speed of 100mph and would result in very severe delays and cancellations.”
Meanwhile, trains between Oxford and London will be delayed by 35 minutes this evening due to speed restrictions.
First Great Western imposing the limit from 4pm following forecasts of gale-force winds and heavy rain.
Flood alerts, meaning flooding is possible so be prepared, are in place at the following waterways:
- River Thame and Chalgrove Brook
- River Evenlode from Moreton in Marsh to Cassington
- River Glyme at Wootton and Woodstock
- River Ock from Watchfield to Abingdon
- Letcombe Brook at Wantage, Grove and East Hanney
- River Ray and its tributaries from Shipton Lee to and including Islip
- River Thames and tributaries from Buscot Wick down to Kings Lock, above Oxford, including Buscot, Kelmscott, Radcot, Chimney, Northmoor, Stanton Harcourt, Bablock Hythe and caravan park, Eynsham, Swinford and Yarnton
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