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Last Updated: Friday, 18 January 2008, 19:01 GMT
Flooding alert as risk continues
A flooded road and property in the village of Kelmscott, west Oxfordshire
Seventeen homes in the village of Kelmscott flooded on Thursday
Flooding is expected across Oxfordshire and parts of Berkshire as river levels rise over the next 24 hours, the Environment Agency has warned.

Four flood warnings remain in place - three on the River Thames and one on the River Thame.

Sandbags continue to be distributed in at-risk areas, including between Shiplake and Hurley Lock, Lechlade to Eynsham, and Eynsham to Sandford Lock.

Areas between Thame and Dorchester are also at risk.

A warning for properties on the River Ray and its tributaries from Shipton Lee to Islip, including Blackthorn and Murcott, has been downgraded.

Seventeen homes in the village of Kelmscott, west Oxfordshire, were flooded by 3ft (0.9m) of water on Thursday afternoon.

We've got evacuation plans in place if necessary
John Kelly
emergency planner

Further flooding is expected across the counties over the next few days, according to the Environment Agency.

The current flood warnings also affect parts of Oxford.

A stock of sand and sandbags has been made available at collection points across Oxfordshire.

Oxfordshire Fire & Rescue Service, Thames Valley Police, Oxfordshire County Council, local councils and Environment Agency staff were all working to support areas likely to be affected, a fire service spokesperson said.

Jed Ramsay, of the Environment Agency, said: "We're not talking anything like what happened in July. Obviously we've had a lot less rainfall this time.

"We're also, I think, a lot better prepared, with the defences we've got in place and the preparations made by the fire and rescue service and the council."

John Kelly, emergency planner for Oxfordshire, said "all the normal procedures" were in action.

Flooding in the village of Kelmscott, west Oxfordshire
Further flooding is expected in the next few days

"We've got evacuation plans in place if necessary," he added.

Oxfordshire's assistant chief fire officer, David Etheridge, said firefighters were out in force in the areas most at risk.

"We have to accept that flooding is part of everyday winter life now," he said.

Residents affected by flooding during the summer have been advised to take "proactive measures" by the fire service, including lifting furniture from the ground and sandbagging "external openings", such as front and rear doors.

Meanwhile Oxford City Council has delivered more than 7,000 sandbags over the past two days to various locations in the city, while a water pump is on standby ready to respond to emergencies.

Sandbag walls

Water from the Bulsake Stream in the city is "several inches up the sandbag protection" and water is having to be pumped out to protect nearby buildings.

The Environment Agency has made another five pumps available in the Osney area of the city.

"We have built sandbag walls in the most vulnerable areas and are doing everything in our power to prepare for a possible flood," a city council spokesperson said on Thursday.

In Berkshire, a local flood warden has been talking to residents to update them on the situation, while pumps are on standby at Purley-on-Thames.

No flooding is expected in Reading, according to the Environment Agency.

Lower risk "flood watches" are also in place on the Thames, Ray, Kennett, Pang, Lodden, Cherwell, Ock, Evenlode and Windrush.

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17 Jan 08 |  UK
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