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Fears in Winchester of more flooding on the way
7:20am Tuesday 11th February 2014 in News
WINCHESTER is now at the mercy of the weather gods.
That was the message from officials as they warned that they have done everything they can to protect against the floods.
Large swathes of the city centre remain submerged, from River Park to the Weirs, to St Bede School and Park Avenue.
The Environment Agency, the county council and the fire service have delivered sandbags to those most at risk, while the city council set up a 24-hour emergency control room.
But another school flooded over the weekend, with the ancient assembly hall at Pilgrims’ School, opposite the cathedral, now under 2in of water. And the City Mill, where water levels were 4ft higher than usual, was forced to close due to safety fears.
Winchester usually benefits from the Winnall Moors, which acts as a natural buffer, soaking up excess rain water. But all the springs there have broken and staff say they can’t do any more.
Martin De Retuerto, area head of conservation at the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, said: “We have literally done everything we can and the reserve is saturated. It’s in the hands of the weather gods.”
Lawrence Talks, an Environment Agency officer, said: “We’re always trying our hardest to help as many people as possible but the flows keep rising and springs are breaking.”
The weather has also caused havoc for motorists.
Andover Road North flooded and there was more misery for residents and motorists when the centre of Twyford flooded.
Residents there put together a rota to ensure that the road closure at Hazeley Road is regularly manned.
Brian Matthews, a volunteer, said: “There’s so much water and it’s got to go somewhere.
“There’s no possible way to stop it. We don’t know how much more is coming.
“We’re sort of waiting and keeping an eye on it.”
At the City Mill, assistant manager Ric Weeks said: “We’ve done everything we can now and we have had to close the mill because we haven’t got any power. The level downstairs has become so high that we had to turn the power off as it was getting up to the level of the sockets.
“I think we will not be milling for at least a couple of weeks now. The mill shop is open but we might have to close that soon as well.”
Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery, who visited villages throughout the valley over the weekend, said: “I think it’s always easy to say more could have been done, but in Hambledon a way could have been found to get a major drain put in.”