Prepare for bad weather

AS storms have continued to pound the South of England this week, Hampshire County Council’s highways teams are working round the clock to keep the county moving.

The further bout of bad weather comes as the county council is clearing up following storms over Christmas and New Year.

A yellow ‘be prepared’ warning has been issued by the Met Office for rain.

During the next 24 to 36 hours a further 30mm of rain is expected to fall across the region. In the last 24 hours Met Office figures show that 20mm of rain has fallen across Hampshire.

Since 18 December, up to 250mm has fallen across Hampshire, the equivalent of three months of rainfall in just three weeks. As the ground is so saturated, more trees are expected to fall in winds gusting up to 50mph inland and 60mph on the coast today (Tuesday 7 January).

Extra arboriculture teams with chainsaws are currently working and on standby in the event of more trees coming down. As a result no roads, priority routes or otherwise, are known to be blocked by fallen trees/branches at this time.

The county council has increased the number of highways emergency crews with tankers and jetters ready to deal with water on the roads and blocked gullies.

People can check the council’s Twitter feed @Hantsconnect for up to date information on roads affected by flooding and fallen trees.

Advice on flooding can be found at www.hants.gov.uk/flooding and flood warnings can be found on the Environment Agency website www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods Councillor Seán Woodward, Hampshire County Council’s executive member for economy, transport and environment, said: “Highways teams and our contractors have been working round the clock to help residents during the difficult weather conditions. Their work is invaluable and I offer my thanks to them.

“It is anticipated that our maintenance teams are likely to be very stretched and it will be necessary to prioritise locations. I would ask people to bear with us while we do all we can to clear roads and incidents of flooding and fallen trees as quickly as we can. I would also ask residents to keep their gullies and drains cleared of fallen leaves and debris in an effort to reduce surface water flooding and the risk of flooding.

“Please take care while on the roads. Sudden, very heavy downpours can lead to roads and pavements flooding quickly. Please heed any warning signs that are placed on the highway. Do not attempt to drive through or walk through fords, and be extra careful driving through any road surface water as it may be difficult to judge its depth.

"Priority has had to be given to fixing problems on the main routes. While some minor roads are still affected, teams are aware of issues on these routes and will attend to them as soon as resources permit. With such large numbers of incidents it may take some weeks to clear up and we are asking people to bear with us during this extremely busy period.

"I would advise residents to take extra care while on the roads and allow more time for their journeys.”

Anyone who has concerns about any older or vulnerable people in their community during times of adverse weather, 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.

If anyone sees flooding near electricity substations in residential areas they are asked to report it to Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) on 0800 072 7282.

Surface water is also a problem on roads that are already damaged from last year's wet autumn, and cold winter and spring. The county council is warning that this will cause more damage to parts of the highway, and residents are being encouraged to report any potholes online: www.hants.gov.uk/roadproblems or call 0845 603 5633.

Residents in flood prone areas are advised to follow the Environment Agency’s flood warning advice, which is: • Prepare a Flood Kit – warm clothes, torch with batteries, battery powered radio, food, water, mobile phone + charger, first aid kit, important personal documents such as passports, bankcards and insurance details; medication and baby food if needed. Keep it upstairs.

• Make a list of useful numbers such as the emergency services, Floodline, insurance company and policy details.

• Talk about what you would do in the event of flooding with other family members / housemates.

• Know where to turn off the gas, water and electricity supply. Ensure you switch it off if you evacuate your property.

• Move people, pets, valuable items and if possible - electrical appliances upstairs or in a high place downstairs.

• Any furniture that you can not move upstairs try and raise off the floor.

• Think about moving your car to higher ground.

• Block doorways, air bricks and cellar vents with bricks or sandbags.

• Alert neighbours and assist the elderly, infirm and those with small children.

• Avoid walking and driving through floodwater as there could be hidden hazards.

• If you have any health worries call NHS Direct on 111 or see www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk • Call 0800 80 70 60 to report flooding to the Environment Agency.

• Refer to Environment Agency Publication “ What to do Before, During and After a Flood”.

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