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A Hampshire Environment Agency specialist today warned that Hampshire could be besieged by floodwater for months.

Rod Murchie, water resources specialist said this morning: “It has barely started. The problem is groundwater, not rivers. The dry valleys on the downland are starting to flow with water. This will last for weeks at the very least, perhaps months.

Daily Echo:

“Even if it stopped raining today there is a lot of water right up to the Candovers that has to come down the valley and through Winchester.”

At Easton north of Winchester water watercourses were being blocked to flood countryside to ease the pressure on the city. One tonne sandbags have been placed in the Itchen by the M3 to slow the flow downstream.

Mr Murchie whose experience goes back to the 1970s said this year was comparable to 2000-01 and 1960.

“The difference this year and 2000 is that the rainfall has been concentrated in only two months. In 2000 it was over five or six. This time we had a very dry November and we were even thinking about a winter drought.”

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The flooding will fuel the debate on global warming and climate change and whether these weather patterns will become more common.

“I'm not an alarmist but people can draw their own conclusions.”