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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 December, 2003, 16:29 GMT
Flooding fears in South East
Cuckmere River
Heavy rainfall has swollen the Cuckmere River
Residents in East Sussex have been warned of the risk of flooding following heavy rainfall during the Christmas period.

The Environment Agency issued flood warnings in East Sussex after wet weather caused river levels to rise.

Parts of Kent were also classified as Flood Watch areas.

People living near the River Ouse, in East Sussex, between Barcombe Cross and Lewes have been warned of an increased risk of flooding.

And three stretches of the Cuckmere River around Hellingly and Berwick are also on high alert after two inches of rainfall.

Flood warning areas
Cuckmere River, around Hellingly and Berwick
River Ouse, between Barcombe Cross and Lewes
River Great Stour, between Ashford and Fordwich

In Kent there is a Flood Watch on the Great Stour between Ashford and Fordwich.

The River Medway is also being observed.

The Environment Agency has warned the highest risk is in East Sussex and said homes and businesses could be damaged.

Spokesman Ray Kemp said the rainfall had amazed the Environment Agency.

He said: "Two months ago the Cuckmere was a tiny stream and almost stagnant.

"Then almost overnight we have an enormous amount of water and it has swollen up and there is water absolutely everywhere.

"We are at that time when water comes down from the sky very, very suddenly and very, very quickly.

"People need to prepare themselves and have their sandbags ready and their floodgates in position.

"We are particularly concerned about the Ouse and the Cuckmere.

"They have managed to escape so far this year but there is a lot of water in the system and they cannot take much more."

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