Batten down those hatches for yet more wind and rain

Oxford Mail: Shoppers struggle with their brollies at Carfax as high winds and heavy rain swept the county yesterday Shoppers struggle with their brollies at Carfax as high winds and heavy rain swept the county yesterday

HEAVY rain and 50mph wind gusts made it a grim day for county residents yesterday.

Delays were caused for several hours on an Oxford road when a fallen tree brought traffic to a standstill in Woodstock Road yesterday afternoon.

The tree fell to the ground and on to the road at about 1pm. It blocked the south-bound carriageway near St Edward’s School.

Travel, weather and flood warnings remained in place across Oxfordshire last night as stormy weather battered the county.

Rail passengers have been urged to check live updates after some services were delayed yesterday because of fallen trees and other weather-related incidents.

Southern Electric reported that 600 homes in the Witney and Chipping Norton areas were affected by power cuts.

Meanwhile, the Met Office is predicting a calmer day today, with cloud and sunny spells, but wind speeds will remain high.

The Environment Agency last night had flood alerts – which are less serious than warnings – in place on certain watercourses like the Thames between Buscot Wick and Kings Lock above Oxford and the Evenlode down to Cassington.

Rain, wind and even a power cut failed to dampen Oxford’s Christmas cheer as shoppers descended on the city in their thousands.

The pre-Christmas rush saw traffic grind to a halt in areas of the city.

But with around 17.5 million people across the UK estimated to have left their festive gift buying to the last minute, the Westgate Shopping Centre was packed yesterday. Sandra Bassett, 64, from Chipping Warden, near Banbury, said: “I love Oxford at Christmas. It’s a real pleasure and I come here every year.

“Everybody just seems happy – smiling and cracking jokes.”

Her friend Teresa Thompson, 49, from Woodford Halse, north of Banbury, said: “It’s not been too bad at all. Because Oxford is so open, it doesn’t feel so enclosed.”

Katie Buchholz, 18, from Islip, went shopping with her 52-year-old dad Graeme to get some last-minute Christmas gifts.

She said: “The weather has been a little bit annoying, but I like shopping in Oxford.”

Louisa James, 39, visiting the city from Alicante in Spain, said: “It really hasn’t been that bad. I love going to the Covered Market. I haven’t been there in years.

“And it looks really lovely at this time of year.”

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