More flooding expected as further rain set to hit Sussex while thousands still without power (From The Argus)
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More flooding expected as further rain set to hit Sussex while thousands still without power
4:00am Friday 27th December 2013 in News
More flooding is expected in Sussex today as new weather warnings mark a damp end to a tumultuous week of weather.
Thousands of people are still without power after a week after gale force winds of up to 80mph and heavy rain caused widespread damage and flooding across most of Sussex.
UK Power Networks said 1,639 homes were still without power last night after strong winds knocked out electricity cables in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
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Thousands were still without electricity on Christmas Day but UK Power Networks showed its festive spirit by providing Christmas lunches for hundreds at restaurants and mobile facilities.
The Rolt family in Crawley were forced to substitute their traditional turkey for McDonald's as they had Christmas lunch by candlelight after their power went out.
About 500 homes in Bolnore village near Haywards Heath lost power on Christmas Eve but engineers managed to restore electricity by Christmas morning, only for it to cut out again yesterday as workers tried to fix the problem.
Pippa Barker-Danby said: “I live in Middle Village and have two boys aged 14 months and three years.
“The worst aspect was the fridge/freezer going off for such a long time, fortunately we didn't have much in at the time, but I know lots had fridges crammed with food ready for Christmas Day.
“The boys found it all very exciting using lighting candles and torches.
“We dressed them warmly at night as there was no heating, but my eldest woke up cold and scared if the dark and ended up in our bed.
“The generosity of those in Bolnore Village with power was amazing, people rallied round to help, offering fridges, ovens, candles and whatever they could.
“It's great to live in a village with such a strong community spirit. We will certainly remember Christmas 2013 for many years.”
Engineers are working to restore electricity with extra staff working over the festive period but their plans may be hampered as more rain is predicted to fall today (FRI).
The Met Office said up to 30mm could fall as yet another severe weather warning was issued for the county.
The yellow alert for rain is likely to lead to more flooding, with the ground already saturated.
The Environment Agency has issued warnings and is expecting flooding at the River Arun in Amberley, Barcombe Mills, Alfriston, and Hellingly and Horsebridge.
There were also another 10 flood alerts across Sussex, meaning flooding is possible.
The A29 in Pulborough was closed yesterday morning due to flooding.
Some homes were also left without water over the holidays, with South East water claiming it was the “biggest challenge” since the Great Storm of 1987.
More than 70 technicians, customer service staff and contractors cancelled their holiday and worked long hours throughout Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to restore supplies.
The wild weather also meant the annual Christmas Day swim at Brighton beach was called off.
Council officials closed the beach for safety reasons on Christmas Eve following the high winds and rain.
Fearing swimmers might still venture into the waters, the beach was cordoned off on Christmas Day and marshals patrolled the beach as crowd gathered only to leave disappointed.
Seafront Operations Manager Viki Miller said: “The conditions are already hazardous and, although it can be tempting to have a quick swim in the sea at Christmas, it's not worth putting yourself at risk.
“The temperature of the sea at this time of year is extremely cold and you can be caught out by strong currents or debris churned up by the storms.”
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