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City braces itself for more floods as rain keeps falling
BOTLEY Road and Abingdon Road are likely to close again as the city prepares for flooding on a scale not seen since 2007.
Officials have said they believe flooding will hit the city from tomorrow in a repeat of last month’s chaos and insiders say the flooding could even be as bad as seven years ago.
Firefighters were called out to more than 60 incidents yesterday, as some homes were flooded when areas in the south of the county were hit. Flash floods in the early hours affected villages such as Chalgrove and East Hanney.
Flood defences will now go up in the city as officials prepare for the worst.
Last night, there were six flood warnings in place for Oxfordshire – meaning flooding is expected. There were also 17 flood alerts – meaning flooding is possible.
Yesterday there were 20 roads closed across the county because of flooding.
- A convoy of cars take it slowly going through the water on Hanney Road, Steventon
The Environment Agency said yesterday that Botley Road and Abingdon Road in Oxford are likely to shut after floods tomorrow.
Spokesman Joe Giacomelli said it was likely that the two roads would shut – although the final decision would be made by the county council.
“Demountable flood defences and pumps will be in place this weekend,” he said.
Bad weather will batter the county over the coming days and the Met Office has forecast rain for Oxford today as well as on Sunday and Tuesday.
There will also be bad weather well into next week and the county council has said that flooded fields in the west of the county and beyond into the Cotswolds will eventually have to flow into the city.
Rodney Rose, the county councillor with responsibility for tackling flooding, said: “Assuming the forecast is right, we have to assume we are going to be getting flooding in Oxford city over the weekend towards Monday. We are certainly preparing for that.
“Everybody should know how to get hold of sandbags. Don’t drive through flood water. If it is dangerous then we will close the roads.”
But he added: “If we don’t get any more rain, then we may be lucky.”
Oxford Flood Alliance chairman Peter Rawcliffe, who lives in South Hinksey village, said: “We are on a knife-edge because the fields are flooded round here and right the way up. It wouldn’t take much more.”
Firefighters rescued 37 schoolchildren aged 11 to 18 from their bus after it got stuck in flood water on the road between Baulking and Kingston Lisle, near Faringdon, yesterday morning.
Kidlington fire station manager Julian Green said: “We would like to stress the importance of not driving or walking through flood water, with the hidden dangers of unknown depth, current and contamination from sewage in the water.”
Sandbags were delivered to Bullstake Close, Oxford, and Oxfordshire County Council has distributed about 1,000 sandbags over the past two days to areas in the south and south-east of the county.
- Sandbags are unloaded at Bullstake Close, Oxford, yesterday
Two schools in West Hanney, St James Primary School and Hanney Pre-School were forced to close due to fresh floods yesterday.
First Great Western train services were also disrupted for a time in the morning in the west of the county because of flooding in Gloucestershire.
In 2007 Oxfordshire suffered the most devastating floods in living memory as more than 900 properties across the county flooded, with many residents forced to flee their homes to take refuge in temporary rest centres including the Kassam Stadium.
THE LATEST - AT A GLANCE
- Six flood warnings in place for Oxfordshire, meaning flooding is expected
- Abingdon Road and Botley Road in Oxford expected to flood next week
- Oxford City Council reopens its sandbag distribution points at Redbridge Park and Ride and at Seacourt Park and Ride
- Firefighters called to more than 60 flooding incidents yesterday up to 4.30pm – including seven vehicles stranded in floodwater and 23 properties affected by water
- Two schools in West Hanney closed yesterday because of flooding
- For up-to-date flood warnings, see www.environment-agency.gov.uk