Flood warnings issued for East Sussex rivers

HEAVY weekend rainfall in East Sussex has prompted the Environment Agency to this morning issue flood warnings for the River Cuckmere and River Rother.

With the likelihood of over 20mm of rainfall over the next 24 hours in the region and after a weekend of prolonged rain, the Environment Agency report that water levels in the River Cuckmere remain high.

However, they say that despite the flood warning for the river and its tributaries from Vines Cross to Exceat Bridge, there is no immediate risk.

A similar flood alert has been issued for the River Rother and its tributaries from Turks Bridge to the Royal Military Canal, including; Crowhurst Bridge, Etchingham, Robertsbridge, Salehurst and Bodiam. The Environment Agency report rainfall of up to 8mm last night, which means the river remains high.

“A cold front is expected to cross the area tonight but while forecast totals are for an average of 7mm, heavy showers may yield as much as 25mm,” reports the Environment Agency. “It is anticipated that river levels will remain high throughout the day and rise overnight.”

Meanwhile, East Sussex County Council has said it is ready for the possibility of severe weather over the winter with gritters on stand by to go out.

Currently there is 10,000 tonnes of salt in the barns ready for use this winter. When icy conditions are forecast the county council’s fleet of 24 gritters spread salt on more than 840 miles of the top priority roads with an extra 130 miles of secondary roads salted when snow is forecast. Every time the fleet of gritters goes out to salt the network of top priority roads it costs around £8,000.

Councillor Carl Maynard, Lead Cabinet Member for Economy, Transport and Environment said: “If we are affected by severe weather this winter, our gritting fleet is ready to go out on our busiest roads and make sure people can still travel to work and see families and friends.

“All of our gritters have been serviced over the summer months and we have contacted all of the farmers who help us in the event of snow.

“Our gritters have already been out five times so far this season. This follows our ‘Operation Snow Drop’ that involves sending them out on their gritting routes to ensure both our drivers and the gritters are ready for the winter ahead. The last of our salt deliveries have come in this week which tops up our stockpiles to 10,000 tonnes, our normal starting stock.

“However, we can’t guarantee that treated roads will always be completely ice-free as it takes time for the salt to become effective, and in very cold weather even salt won’t prevent roads from icing, so I would urge anyone who does need to take to the roads in icy or snowy weather to drive appropriately for the conditions.

“The highways contact centre will be able to provide information and advice to our customers during times of extreme weather but please be aware that we will be experiencing a very high level of calls, so there will be an increased waiting time. Please keep checking the website and follow us on twitter and facebook as other ways of getting information.”