OXFORDSHIRE residents hit by flooding last night said they were ready and prepared for more disruption in the coming days.
Many vowed to ‘carry on regardless’ in the face of rising flood waters as the Environment Agency warned people to expect more heavy rain and road closures throughout the week. For the third time in 18 months people woke up yesterday morning to find major roads closed as a result of flooding.
But some residents said it had become something they have got used to and were well prepared for. Owner of the Nisa convenience store in Abingdon Road, Mohammad Afzal said it would be business as usual despite the rising water which had closed the road for the second time this year.
He added: “My customers are braving the conditions and not letting it beat them, so the least I can do is stay open. “We all need to work together to get through this.” Sandbags were being handed out across the county with Oxfordshire County Council confirming it had distributed more than 3,100 by lunchtime yesterday.
Environment Agency workers were out in force in Oxford on Saturday putting up metal barriers along the River Thames on Osney Island and were yesterday pumping water out of Lake Road and Bullstake Close. And officers were in Hinksey Lake, Oxford, putting up the flood wall. One worker said they were expecting a lot more water to come. Abingdon Road was closed in the early hours of yesterday morning as water levels rose.
As of last night Botley Road was still open but residents in some surrounding streets were being warned water levels were predicted to rise over the next 24 hours. Oxford City Council issued letters to those living in Duke Street, Earl Street, Bullstake Close and Botley Road telling them their homes “may begin to flood” despite the defences that had been put in place.
It recommended people moved their valuables off the ground floor and prepared to leave their properties “for at least a few days”. John Mastroddi, a member of the Oxford Flood Alliance, said that while there was a chance properties would flood, there was no risk to life. He said: “I don’t think there’s going to be any need to evacuate.”
Abingdon Road was closed just after 4am yesterday as flood waters reached a similar level to last month – when it was closed for a number of days, losing local businesses thousands of pounds.
But many residents said they were more prepared this time and vowed to battle through the flooding. Yvonne Bayliss, 80, of Wytham Street, Oxford, recalled when she was trapped in her home when Abingdon Road flooded in 2012.
She said: “This time my family has brought me everything I need, and they’ve been to check on me. “It’s annoying that it keeps flooding but I’ll be alright, I’ve weathered worse than this.” Others said they were making the most of the situation. Jason Porter, who lives in Abingdon Road, got out the family’s inflatable dinghy.
The 46-year-old said: “I understand that it causes a lot of misery for some people, but my attitude is as we can’t do anything about it, why not enjoy it?”
His girlfriend, Julie Bell, 44, said: “But it is really awful for other people whose houses get flooded. We are very lucky.”
The Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said it would try to give advance warning to homes that needed to be evacuated as water levels were predicted to rise over the next 24 hours.