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Weeks of rain cause flood chaos
THE MISERABLE weather experienced by South Bucks over the festive period showed no sign of abating this week as for many living near the River Thames the threat of flooding became a reality.
The Environment Agency confirmed earlier this week that river levels were expected to reach their highest level in 10 years.
Fresh flood warnings were issued across the area, flagging up imminent flooding for riverside properties from Bisham to Little Marlow.
Firefighters had to carry out a dramatic rescue at a house in Medmenham, carrying two people to safety on Wednesday after their home became totally cut off by flood water.
And problems have been reported at riverside locations across the area, with roads closed after being swamped with water.
A EA warning statement on Tuesday said: "River levels on the River Thames are slowly rising. River levels are going to slowly rise for the next 24 hours, after which they will stabilise.
"Flooding of properties close to the river is possible. Levels are expected to be higher than those seen in November and December 2012 and closer to those of January 2003."
The country has been in the grips of one of the worst periods of wet weather in decades, with coastal areas among the worst affected since the tirade began just before Christmas.
Wycombe District Council is providing residents with sandbags to prevent their homes from flooding, with drop-off points at Riverwood Drive, St Peter's Street and Pound Lane in Marlow and in Mill End.
Marlow hotel The Compleat Angler, which has a garden stretching down to the riverbank, lost entire sections of its car park to the deluge.
Staff at Longridge Outdoor Activity Centre, who sacrificed their Christmas holidays to avert a crisis, have been temporarily forced to abandon their offices and set up elsewhere after the site was totally flooded.
Marlow FM, based at the same site, is under threat as water levels rose dangerously close to engulfing the studio.
Yesterday, the station was seeking alternative accommodation in case the building was swamped.
Members of Marlow sailing club had to tie their boats to trailers to stop them from floating away after 3 feet of water surrounded the club.
Sailor Pete Dunton said it was the worst he had seen it in 10 years as a member.
While roads in Marlow largely escaped the floods, Quarry Wood Road was closed and became impassable to anyone without a 4X4 vehicle.
Cookham was vitually cut off with motorists crossing the river from the north risking deep flood water to approach the bridge to the village.
And police closed the B447 to Cookham Dean after flood water from the nearby field left the road looking more like a canal.
Flood warnings stretched from Bisham right through to Bourne End, where the river at Spade Oak burst its banks and flooded whole sections of the Thames Path.
Walkers along the Thames Path were thwarted in their efforts to continue any further than the wharf.
Peter Osbourne, of Bourne End Marina, said: "The river has been higher than when we saw the flooding last year, but we haven’t seen any damage.
"Hopefully it’s been at its highest and levels will start to come down, but at the moment you never know."
Transport for Bucks, the highways arm of Bucks County Council, has been on high alert all week, with emergency crews responding to call-outs throughout the county.
As well as responding to around 100 flooding calls since December 23, TfB teams have cleared 125 fallen trees brought down by the high winds.
Last week, the river crept into Marlow's Higginson Park and flooded the Thames Path, which remains closed for safety reasons.
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