Berkshire and Oxfordshire flooding timeline


Weeks of heavy rain have brought flooding to Berkshire and Oxfordshire.

Hundreds of homes have been evacuated, residents have been left without power and there has been widespread travel disruption.

BBC News looks at how events unfolded.

image captionMuch of the Thames Valley has been battered by high winds and floods

And so it begins (23 December)

Power cuts, road closures and flooding are beginning to cause problems across Berkshire and Oxfordshire after heavy rain and gale-force winds.

About 60 residents at sheltered accommodation in Bicester in Oxfordshire are moved out overnight due to flooding.

image sourceViv Gaulter-Carter
image captionA number of fallen trees block roads across Oxfordshire

The night before Christmas (24 December)

The bad weather means hundreds of homes across Oxfordshire lose electricity supplies on Christmas Eve. Scottish and Southern Energy say a total of 1,400 homes are without power. High winds bring down dozens of trees, blocking a number of roads.

In Berkshire, some 3,700 homes are without power in Reading and Newbury after high winds bring down lines. Newbury Station closes because of flooding and flood warnings are issued for the Loddon, Kennet and Enborne rivers. Abbey Street in Reading closes after a panel on The Blade, Reading's tallest building, comes loose.

image source@peterdgreenway
image captionResidents in the village of Langford in Oxfordshire struggle to feel any Christmas spirit

Building repairs (2 January)

Workmen start repairs to The Blade in Reading after a panel on its roof was damaged. The damage to the office block caused Abbey Street to be closed due to fears of falling debris.

image sourceBBC/Richard Black
image captionThe Blade building in Reading bears the brunt of the storm

Dramatic rescue (7 February)

Heavy rain results in roads being closed around Oxfordshire. Near Faringdon, children from King Alfred Academy, Wantage, are rescued from a bus trapped in flood waters. Elsewhere in the county, more than 20 properties in Chalgrove, Grove, and Thames are flooded.

Residents in the Berkshire village of Waltham St Lawrence, near Maidenhead, call for a tanker to pump away water from overflowing sewers. Nicola Goodman, who lives in The Street, describes the water as "bubbling like a jacuzzi".

image sourceNicola Goodman
image captionResidents in Waltham St Lawrence say they have seen sewage in the streets

Military might (8 February)

Soldiers help to lay down sandbags outside the Pingewood substation a few miles from their barracks in Reading in an attempt to halt the relentless progress of flood water. More soldiers fill up bags from a supply of sand at Chieveley.

media captionLieutenant Colonel James Bryant told the BBC's Nick Beake that the soldiers were reservists

Sandbag saviours (9 February)

As the bad weather continues, so does the military might. The reservists continue to help laying sandbags in a bid to hold back flood waters threatening the Pingewood electricity substation. About 50 soldiers from the 7th Battalion The Rifles join firefighters to build a dam with hundreds of sandbags. The substation supplies power for about 40,000 homes and businesses in Berkshire.

It comes as a number of severe flood warnings are issued along the Thames between Old Windsor and Datchet. Parts of Caversham are also flooded by rising waters.

Meanwhile 20 residents from a flooded caravan park next to the River Thames in Oxfordshire, are rescued for the second time in five weeks.

image sourceMOD
image captionHundreds of sandbags are used to protect an electricity substation

Moving out (10 February)

There is no sign of the weather easing up, with 14 severe flood warnings issued along the River Thames in Berkshire and Surrey by the Environment Agency. The village of Datchet, in the shadow of Windsor Castle, is hit by flooding, and some residents are evacuated from their homes by emergency services.

image sourceGetty Images
image captionSevere flooding in Datchet sees many residents evacuated from their homes

Rising waters at the village's railway station disrupt rail travel while the main road through Datchet becomes impassable. Elsewhere in the county, councillor Colin Rayner speaks to the BBC about the flood situation in Wraysbury, Berkshire, and says "we need help here".

image captionThe main road through the village of Datchet, near Windsor Castle

Call for action (11 February)

With the flooding showing no sings of easing, residents in Wraysbury, Berkshire, say not enough has been done to help those affected. Later that day, the army arrives to help. During a visit to the village, Labour leader Ed Miliband says more money needs to be spent on flood defences.

media captionEd Miliband: "It is clear more needs to be done on flood defences"

Meanwhile, the prime minister, David Cameron, says money will be no object as flood relief efforts continue in Berkshire. Volunteers, including the RSPCA, are working to help those affected by the floods. Despite hundreds of people being evacuated from their homes along the River Thames, some residents refuse to leave.

image sourcePA
image captionEmergency services help to evacuate stranded residents in Wraysbury

Elsewhere, water flowing out of the swollen Thames floods the railway on the Windsor line into London, where it passes through Datchet in Berkshire. While flooding at Maidenhead causes problems on the railway line between London Paddington and Reading. First Great Western advises passengers not to travel.

Transport links in Oxfordshire are faring no better, with one of Oxford's main routes remaining closed because of flooding for the second time in a month. Elsewhere, an Oxfordshire farmer tells the BBC he has lost tens of thousands of pounds because 400 acres (160 hectares) of his land have been under water since mid-December.

image captionFarmer Tim Hook says his land is devastated by a sixth flood since 2008

Another day, same story (12 February)

Fourteen severe flood warnings are put in place by the Environment Agency in Berkshire and Surrey, while two remain in Somerset. More than 1,000 homes have been evacuated in Berkshire. Of those that did stay, hundreds of residents spend hours without power, whilst many roads remain closed and train services disrupted as the flooding continues. Residents in Wraysbury demand the military be called in, and it comes as a huge relief when about 100 troops help flood victims.

In Oxfordshire, flood barriers are raised and roads remain closed as the flooding continues. Letters are also been sent to some residents in west Oxford, including in Earl Street and Botley Road, warning of potential flooding to their homes.

image captionWraysbury in Berkshire may look pretty but the floods are causing havoc for residents

Flood sightseeing (13 February)

Tens of thousands of homes across the UK start the day without power, and there is renewed travel disruption after hurricane-force winds batter the UK on Wednesday.

Wraysbury resident, Ham Sandhu tells the BBC what it is like living with contaminated flood water, which runs thigh deep through his house. Microbiologist Lance Weaver tests the water and tells Mr Sandhu that the flood water is full of faecal matter. "It's worrying," Mr Sandhu says.

image captionHam Sandhu's house in Wraysbury first flooded on 8 January

Meanwhile, motorists in Berkshire are urged not to go "flood sightseeing" by police. Drivers trying to see deluged communities are causing extra damage by creating waves of water which then hit flood-affected properties, the force said.

image sourceAP
image captionA resident takes pictures as she is driven through the flooded centre of the village of Datchet

It is not all doom and gloom in Datchet thought. A couple are spotted paddling in a gondola through the flooded central square in the village. A moment of light relief.

image sourceReuters
image captionA couple paddles in a gondola while posing for media in Datchet

The clean-up begins (15 February)

Over the next two days, the waters recede in Datchet and the village green returns to a more familiar condition.

Rail services between Windsor and London Waterloo resume at the village's station.

Residents and businesses begin planning for the clean-up, but businesswoman Julie West remained cautious.

"The water may return, so not everything can return to normal immediately," she said.

"It's a case of looking out for each other and helping who we can as the community comes together."

image captionThe Green in Datchet starts to look more familiar as the waters recede

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