Final homes should soon have power restored

THE 70 homes in the Salisbury area that are still without power should have their electricity restored by the end of today.

The bad weather earlier in the week plunged 2,000 homes around Salisbury into darkness on Christmas Eve, along with 3,000 in the New Forest. But crews from Southern Electric Power Distribution have been working steadily to reduce the number of homes affected.

This morning there were still 70 homes in the Salisbury area and 175 in the New Forest that were without power.

Southern Electric Power Distribution spokeswoman Sharon Miller McKenzie said today: “All customers are expected to have power restored by this evening.”

Although the southern half of Wiltshire escaped the worst effects of the storm, the Environment Agency is still warning householders to be alert to the danger of flooding from the tributaries of the River Avon, should the predicted heavy rain return on Monday.

River levels are receding today, but areas that could be affected include Bishopstone, Britford, Chilmark, Downton, Mere and Sixpenny Handley. The agency’s experts say groundwater levels are expected to rise as “further significant rainfall is expected at the beginning of next week”. Weather forecasters believe up to 25 mm of rain could fall in 12 hours.

Flooding was reported this morning at Tisbury, near the railway station, where the River Nadder was recorded as being 1.29m in depth, compared with a normal range of between 0.53m and 0.90m. Fallen trees were also removed from the A30 at Barford St Martin and Lopcombe Corner. Wiltshire Council said it had sent out staff to deal with 300 incidents since Monday.

On Christmas Day, roads in the Woodford valley were hit by localised flooding and blocked by fallen trees. Local photographer David Hargrave, of Coronation Road, Durrington, who sent in some pictures, said: “It affected several roads, but the estate workers were out clearing the debris. In a lot of cases, these roads are lower than all the land around them.”

Fallen trees and flooding led to the closure of the railway service between Salisbury and Exeter on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. A Saturday service is scheduled to be in operation today, Friday, although travellers should check with South West Trains. Normal weekday timetables are not scheduled to resume until January 2.

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