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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 July 2007, 02:22 GMT 03:22 UK
Crews pump out power substation
Abingdon Town FC in Abingdon
Water covers the pitch at Abingdon Town FC in Abington
Water is flooding into homes in the west of Oxford while fire crews are continuing to pump out a substation supplying the city centre with power.

Power to some businesses served by the Osney Mead substation has already been re-routed while levels on the River Thames will peak later on Wednesday.

In Abingdon 570 homes have been flooded according to the Environment Agency.

The bad weather had led to some 3,000 properties being flooded and more than 600 people being led to safety.

Three severe flood warnings remain in place - one on the River Ock in Oxfordshire and two on the River Thames.

John Lloyd, of Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "We've got a steady but constant rise of flood water levels within Oxford city centre particularly on the western side of the city."

The electricity substation in the area controlled power to a number of essential businesses including hospitals, said Mr Lloyd.

The police are leafleting an area of Henley that may flood
Oxfordshire County Council

Liasing with the SEB electrical company "we are likely to loose supply at some stage tomorrow from that substation which will obviously have a significant effect on a number of properties within Oxford city centre itself," he added.

In preparation for rivers bursting their banks, thousands of sandbags were delivered to households across the county.

Oxfordshire fire chiefs have divided the county into 11 areas where firefighters will assess local situations.

Roads 'impassable'

John Kelly, Oxfordshire's chief emergency planner, said about 250 people were being moved from the Botley area of Oxford.

An Oxfordshire County Council spokeswoman said: "Strategic planning remains in place for Oxford and Abingdon and the fire and rescue service will recommit resources here if necessary.

"However, the police are leafleting an area of Henley that may flood and the fire service is putting in resources to meet any potential life-threatening incidents from Abingdon south to the Henley area.

"They won't be able to start pumping water away from homes in the south of the county until after the water levels have subsided."

The pumping out operation is also expected to take place in Banbury and Standlake.

Main roads through Witney are now open but nearby Spring Lane in Crawley is said to be "impassable" still.

In Minster Lovell water levels are around seven or eight inches (17cm) but traffic is able to get through and there are no closures, the council spokeswoman added.

Makeshift refuge

Thames Valley Police and the fire and rescue service are concentrating efforts on Henley and Wallingford.

At this stage, it is thought that only a few homes may flood in Wallingford.

Keith Wheal, head of the Oxfordshire County Council Countryside Service, said: "We would like to warn people to stay away from river and canal towpaths until water levels have significantly dropped. "

Sandbags have been made available in Bridge End car park in Dorchester, Kings Road car park in Henley and a further delivery of 60 tons of sand is expected in Henley.

Over the weekend, the county council also transformed the Kassam Stadium into a makeshift centre ready to house up to 1,500 people if Oxford floods.

Seventy people are still there and these include 11 people who were moved from Meadow View Care Home in Standlake on Monday.

Many primary schools were also forced to shut early for the summer holidays because of the threat of flooding and 12 roads were closed.


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