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Flash Floods Disrupt Southern England

Raging Flood WatersSouthern England was hit with a downpour on Thursday, resulting in flash floods that have mostly affected areas around Dorset county at the coast. The worst hit have been the Bournemouth and Christchurch districts, causing disruptions for road travel and businesses.

Many people were stuck in their vehicles in the flood water and had to be rescued, while Bournemouth Nuffield Hospital, a private facility, was evacuated due to ceiling damage from the water. The Lower and Central Gardens of Bournemouth were submerged. Businesses and buildings were made to close due to the heavy rain. Traffic came to a gridlock on the A338 Wessex Way between St Paul’s roundabout and the Liverpool Victoria building and had to be diverted to The Triangle.

Residents are said to have reported water nearly rising to the top of their cars. Manhole and drain covers were also said to have lifted in several streets, including Burts Hill in Wimborne, Commercial Road in Bournemouth, Nuffield Road in Poole, and Coniston Avenue and Magna Road in Bear Cross. The flooding caused a wall to collapse on the pavement in Exeter Road, which resulted in a ruptured gas pipe. The road was closed and several buildings evacuated. By the evening, the damage was repaired, the road reopened and locals allowed to return to their businesses and homes.

Dorset Fire and Rescue Service reported responding to over 100 incidents in two hours. A spokesperson said they were called to homes where the flood waters rose up to their waist. The neighbouring Hampshire service was brought in to help.

Bournemouth Borough Council said 120 locations were reported flooded and that almost 1,000 calls had been taken at its call centre by 2pm – 98% of which were flood-related. Worried callers are said by police to have detailed water 2ft-3ft high near Castle Point Shopping Centre. The council also said that it had suspended the afternoon green waste collection due to crews being drafted to help clear drains.

According to the Met Office, 53mm of rain fell in Springbourne (Bournemouth) between 4am and 1pm, while Portland reportedly got 57.8mm of rail during the same period. Although a majority of the weather was over by afternoon, the service issued a yellow alert for thunder and heavy showers on Sunday coming from the Channel. A spokesperson said that similar problems to Thursday’s could develop.

Police said yesterday evening that the water had receded and that most other businesses and roads reopened, but the gardens, along with Boscome Gardens, stayed closed. However, motorists should proceed on roads with caution and avoid driving at all if possible. Organisers for the Bournemouth Air Festival, which had been scheduled to start, cancelled all daytime flying displays to keep the public safe. Later, though, they also cancelled a dusk air display, which had been scheduled for 7pm.

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