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Sussex's festive washout
5:20pm Thursday 20th December 2012 in News
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- Sussex has been battered by torrential rain for the last 24 hours. Emergency crews have spent hours battling rising waters to save homes threatened by flooding. Tonight, drivers face treacherous conditions as they try to negotiate flooded roads.
- And there is more bad weather to come.
- The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning for heavy rain to fall from early on Saturday morning to Sunday lunchtime. A spokesman said there was a substantial risk of further flooding.
Sussex Police: Report of cars skidding on Tangmere Road, Ifield. Take care if you do have to drive tonight, and remember stopping distances are increased.
Fire crews from Uckfield have also been called to deal with flooding in Isfield.
Fire crews have been called to help with flooding in a basement in Herstmonceux.
And we still have flooding on the roads:
On the A27 Crockhurst Hill in Worthing between the Mill Lane junction and Offington Corner.
One lane closed on A27 eastbound in Chichester between Oving Crossroads and Portfield Roundabout.
The A271 Hailsham Road in Herstmonceux is partially blocked and there is still slow traffic at the West End junction.
The B2116 in Plumpton partially blocked in both directions at the Plumpton Bostall junction
In West Sussex the A284 Lyminster Road in Lyminster is flooded around the Woodcote Lane junction.
The B2166 Lower Bognor Road in Bognor Regis is closed and traffic is slow in both directions between the Hewart's Lane junction and the Pagham Road junction.
The B2201 Selsey Road in Donnington blocked near the Wophams Lane junction.
There is also flooding on Rowan Way in Bognor Regis at the North Bersted Street junction.
There are reports of queuing on the A23 Handcross Hill, Handcross, southbound at Slaugham Lane, Slaugham because of earlier water damage to the carriageway.
Trains between Havant / Bognor Regis and Horsham / Worthing may be delayed by up to 15 minutes because of flooding at Barnham.
Keep up to date with the latest information from the Environment Agency website www.environmentagency.gov.uk/flood.
Sign up to free flood warnings by calling the Environment Agency Flood Line on 0845 988 1188, check your route for disruption before travelling and not to drive or walk through floodwater.
Have you been affected by flooding? Call us on 01273 544514 or email pictures to email@example.com.
The weather also forced schools across the county to cancel classes for the day.
Twineham School, near Burgess Hill, was closed after youngsters, parents, and staff were unable to reach the gates because of a huge puddle in Twineham Lane, caused by heavy overnight rain.
In Ifield, water levels in Ifield Brook swelled towards record levels. At 12pm the torrent reached a depth of 2.43 metres, just 12 cm off the highest level ever recorded.
Flood alerts were also issued for Upper River Mole, Gatwick Stream and Burstow Stream.
Flooding also caused diversions and delays across Mid Sussex after a night of almost continuous rain.
Low lying fields were under water across the district and traffic stacked up on roads swamped with surface water.
In nearby Bosham, Environment Agency officials warned the swollen river was expected to burst its banks near the Mill Stream Hotel.
In Emsworth near Chichester, muddy water flooded several bungalows this morning and was two feet high in some places.
Firefighters were called to Selangor Avenue at 3.30am after the flood flowed down a field backing onto the A27 and gushed into people's homes.
As morning broke, residents began to pump the water out themselves but fire crews said at least two of the properties were ruined.
Many other roads across the county have been shut for long periods while crews battle to pump floodwaters away
A spokeswoman for the Highways Agency said: “Our roads are built with drainage in mind and are designed to cope with heavy rainfall, but the amount of water any drainage system can take is finite, particularly along the A27 in Sussex for example where we have a combined high water table and a low-lying flood plain.
“The amount of rain that has fallen recently has been exceptional, and we are working hard with our contractors to clear incidents as quickly and safely as possible.”
Torrential rain also forced the closure of the southbound A23 near Handcross this morning when a section of the tarmac collapsed.
Heavy rainfall also caused a sports pitch near Chichester Close in Peacehaven to flood.
Crews from East Sussex Fire and Rescue brought heavy duty equipment and pumped the pitch to stop water flooding into nearby homes.
A spokeswoman said the field was “like a swimming pool”.
In Eastbourne, high winds and non-stop rain caused the roof of the Langney Shopping Centre to cave in during the early hours of this morning.
Timber, metal and glass came crashing down, leaving a gaping 10 metre hole. Luckily, no-one was in the building at the time and no-one was injured.
The incident happened above the square in the shopping centre, just outside the Windmill Restaurant where people sit down to rest during the day.
Today, the area around the shopping centre was off limits as building inspectors and shop management surveyed the damage.
The building must now undergo an assessment and is unlikely to open before Christmas.