More rain and wind on the way later this week for Swindon

Swindon Advertiser: Cars negotiating a flood under the railway bridge on the A420 near Shrivenham Cars negotiating a flood under the railway bridge on the A420 near Shrivenham

Torrential rain and gale-force winds caused chaos in and around Swindon today – and residents should be braced for another lashinglater in the week.

Disruption was widespread on Christmas Eve as floods forced emergency services to close roads, train services were cancelled or delayed and hundreds of commuters were stranded for several hours.

And more disturbances are expected as the downpour continues throughout the day and tonight, with the Met Office warning motorists not to drive unless absolutely necessary.

A spokesman said: “Spells of rain affecting the UK late Friday are expected to be heavy at times with 10 to 20mm expected to fall quite widely. In excess of 30mm is likely over parts of Wales, Northern Ireland and southern England.

“The public should be aware of the potential for disruption, especially where ground is already saturated and where high winds are combined with heavy rainfall.”

During the worst of the storm on Monday, the gable end of a house on Celsus Grove, in Okus, blew off, forcing its occupants to move out for Christmas.

The owner, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s shocking. I took the bin out at around 3pm. I went back in and shut the door and as soon as I did, it collapsed. I was 10 seconds away from it.

“We had plans to do Christmas Day here. We had to move out. All the rain has gone through the house. It’s all damp. And it has cracked the whole wall.”

His neighbour Banjo Adeniran said: We were upstairs and heard a loud noise. We thought it was the wind.

“We were shocked when we saw it. There was debris everywhere.”
Another resident Divya Kantamneni added: “I came back from work and saw emergency vehicles outside. We didn’t go inside our house because we were not sure what the cause of it was and if it would affect us. It’s a little bit scary because all the houses are identical.”

By 4.30am on Christmas Eve, Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service had received 230 calls to flooded roads and properties across town and the county. Wiltshire Police reported downed trees blocking Castleview Road in Coleview, and Broadmoor Road, South Marston, among others, and flooding as a result of the storm. The force handled 196 different incidents across the county in the morning of December 24 alone.

A 40-yard puddle was reported on the A419 at Cricklade, while the A420 Oxford Road between Shrivenham and Swindon was waterlogged at the railway bridge but passable.

Rodbourne Road did not escape the rain, with water creeping towards properties. One resident, Patricia Johnson, said dirty water from blocked drains continued to spread to the pavements and her own drive, getting dangerously close to her house.

“The whole road is flooded,” she said. “It’s all over the pavements and it’s coming down my drive. The road should be closed off. It's absolutely ridiculous.”

All trains to Melksham and beyond were cancelled on Christmas Eve as the waterlogged track was impassable.

First Great Western’s services travelling through Swindon were delayed but continued to run through the worst of the weather but to a reduced timetable and at a slower speed.

A First Great Western spokesman said: “The heavy rainfall and subsequent debris on the line caused significant disruption across the network. We were still running the services we could but they were very crowded.”
Deliveries in the town remained unaffected by the weather according to the Royal Mail.

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