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Environment Agency improves flood warning service

Many residents in parts of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire will receive a better flood warning service targeted directly to their communities for the first time.

The Environment Agency has just increased the number of flood warning areas for parts of Oxfordshire including Abingdon, Wantage, Grove, East Hanney and Bampton. New river level gauges have recently been installed along the River Stert, Letcombe Brook and Shill Brook. A new gauge has also been installed along the River Evenlode upstream of Moreton-in-Marsh in Gloucestershire.

Although this system is widely used it is the first time that it has been rolled out in these areas.

The gauges are housed in small kiosks that sit on the river bank and transmit river levels back to the Environment Agency’s flood forecasting team every fifteen minutes. This information is then used to monitor how rivers levels respond to rainfall 24 hours a day.

Installing these gauges will ensure that the Environment Agency is able to detect flooding and inform communities when it is likely to flood in their area. These areas were all seriously affected by the July 2007 floods and while flooding cannot always be prevented, these new gauges will allow local residents time to take action, keep safe and save their valuables.

Kate Vincent, an Environment Agency Flood Incident Management Team Leader, said: "I’m really pleased that we are now able to extend our flood warning service, Floodline Warnings Direct,  to provide a service to people living and working in additional  parts of Abingdon, Wantage, Grove, East Hanney and Bampton and Moreton-in-Marsh.

“It is  vitally important that people in these areas register for this new free service either by phoning our Floodline service on 0845 988 1188 or visiting our website at http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/.

“People should also make themselves familiar with the levels of warning we use to understand the impacts of what it means when we issue one. Taking appropriate action in advance can prevent or minimise any potential damage or loss caused by a flood.

Remember, you can call Floodline on 0845 988 1188 any time night or day for real-time flood warnings and advice.


Gas, electricity and water

·         Put plugs into sinks and weigh them down with something heavy

·         Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies at the mains. Find out where these are well in advance of any flood

·         Unplug all electrical items and store upstairs or as high up as possible.


Reduce flood water getting into your home

·         Silicone sealant - open doors and windows, smear a layer of this around the frame, then shut and lock the door/window.

·         Ideally, cover doors, windows and airbricks with plywood, sandbags or metal sheeting. Download our guide, below, for detailed instructions.


Furniture and appliances

·         Move as much furniture and electrical items as you can upstairs. Alternatively raise them up on bricks or blocks - this may be very helpful for large appliances such as fridge/freezers

·         Move furniture away from walls, as this helps when drying your property later

·         If you can, roll up carpets and rugs and put them upstairs

·         If there is no time to remove curtains, hang them up over the rail so they are kept above flood water

·         Leave internal doors open, or ideally, remove them and store them upstairs.


Personal Items

·         You cannot replace sentimental items. Think about permanently moving these upstairs, so you do not forget to move them in the case of a flood

·         Keep important personal documents in a sealed bag, and in a location safe from floodwater.


Outside the house

·         Move anything not fixed down into a safer location, e.g. dustbins, garden chemicals, car oil and similar

·         Move your car to higher ground to avoid damage

·        Weigh down manhole covers outside the house to prevent them floating away and leaving a hazardous hole.

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