Amid worst winter rainfall in nearly 250 years, Hampshire County Council puts further emergency plans in place ahead of more heavy rain and gales
Friday, 07 February 2014
Hampshire County Council's highways teams are filling and deploying thousands of sandbags to help keep the roads open ahead of the next band of rain moving in across Hampshire from 9pm tonight, expected to bring with it up to 20mm of rain in a six hour period.
In the last 24 hours alone, Hampshire has had an average of 23mm of rain, and in preparation for the next wave of adverse weather, extra emergency crews are also ready to work through the night and the weekend to keep Hampshire moving.
Councillor Seán Woodward, Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment at Hampshire County Council said: "Our priority is to protect Hampshire's highways in this very difficult situation.
"Frontline teams have been working round the clock to keep on top of the on-going weather problems on the roads, dealing with flooding, fallen trees and emergency repairs.
"We will continue to do all we can with extra teams, gully emptiers and sandbags but the ground is so saturated now, and the rivers so full, there is really nowhere else for further rainfall to go.
"We are working closely with the Environment Agency and applying to Government to secure funding for immediate repairs, and for support with major flood relief schemes to help mitigate against this extreme weather in the future. We continue to work with our partners at district councils, and the emergency services to deal with the situation across the county, caused by the most significant winter rainfall in nearly 250 years.
"Our teams have been particularly busy in Winchester, Eastleigh, Romsey, Hambledon, the Candovers, Breamore and Kings Worthy and will be working non-stop, wherever they are needed.
"We are expecting heavy rain and strong winds again overnight, with no respite over the weekend, and so I'm afraid significant further disruption on the roads can be expected.
"I would ask all residents to take extra care when driving, to allow more time for their journeys as delays and diversions are likely across the county, and to be mindful of other road users. Flooding has meant a number of roads have had to be closed, and a list of routes affected is updated regularly.
I would also ask that residents look out for vulnerable members of their community during these circumstances, and to please get in touch with us if they have any concerns."
Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government yesterday praised Hampshire for the way it is dealing with the flooding, commenting: "I think Hampshire has behaved particularly well throughout the crisis, and in liaising with my Department and with DEFRA, it has been exceptionally good."
At the Council's Cabinet meeting today there were tributes and praise for the local communities and County Council staff who had been working 24/7 to help the worst-affected communities.
Council Leader Roy Perry said :"At the latest count there were at least 89 communities affected, and Hampshire has had the second highest overall rainfall after Dorset. Staff have been giving support to flood action groups around the clock in the areas hardest hit, and the way they have all come together really does show England at its best. We also owe our appreciation to the local farming communities for all the support they have given in recent flooding events."
The County Council's Emergency Planning Team is also prepared and on standby, to support the emergency services and to assist those who need help with emergency situations that may arise as a consequence of the heavy rainfall.
Follow @hantsconnect on Twitter for information roads affected by flooding and storms.
If anyone has concerns about any older or vulnerable people in their community during times of adverse weather, they should call: 0845 603 5630 or out of hours 0845 600 4555. Hampshire residents are asked to be good neighbours and check on anybody elderly or who may be vulnerable during this time.