park_bench_close-up, Parson's Pleasure Feb 22 2024


February is setting records for rainfall in the UK, and Oxford is more flooded than ever

Published: 27 February 2024

Author: Richard Lofthouse


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Mesopotamia, Cherwell overspill Feb 22 2024

Early in January we reported on the very high flood waters prevailing in Oxford, but February is on course to be the wettest February in 258 years, with two-and-a-half times the 48mm average falling – 129mm.

This has translated into 52 ‘red’ flood warnings across the South and Midlands by late February as this article was written, and travelling by train to Oxford from any direction offers surreal stretches, where looking out of the window one is greeted by huge expanses of water where before there were fields, and any low-lying ditch or floodplain is totally inundated and all sections of the Thames River are seen to have sprawled well beyond the normal channel.

The negative side of this is not to be underestimated. There has been a well-documented local scandal where homes in the Botley Road have been flooded with raw sewage that fountained up from drains, even around Waitrose. Dr Liz Sawyer (Trinity, 1999) told the Oxford Mail that her family could no longer use the downstairs loo because the water table was so high that it wouldn’t flush. Cue Thames Water in trouble again.


View from Magdalen Bridge, Feb 22 2024

Seacourt Park and Ride, a popular commuter car park, has now been under water for weeks, except for the front apron, making a mockery of the original vision of the planners who insisted it would rarely be a problem.


Wet feet towards Marston, Feb 22 2024

Over at Mesopotamia, as it is fondly known, the Cherwell flows in many new directions, while footpaths are submerged and commuters to Headington and Marston ride their bikes with wellies or simply roll up their trousers and get cold feet (as shown!).

The LMH corner of University Parks (below left), always a benchmark for how flooded the city is, is completely under water in ways that few people can recall, while the further meadows offer unusual, eery vistas of watery trees best seen.



from Rainbow Bridge, where small crowds cluster.



The earlier story 'Watery Oxford' published on January 9, 2024, is HERE.