Water still rising as flood-stricken residents left angry

! ''Staff from Clancy Docwra and Beaver Tool Hire relocate the damaged sandbags at Hambledon'' ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (14357-8500)
! ''Staff from Clancy Docwra and Beaver Tool Hire relocate the damaged sandbags at Hambledon'' ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (14357-8500)
Crowds gathered under Big Ben today

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BUSES were cancelled and a popular tourist attraction shut down as the wet and windy weather continued to cause misery.

Today, people in the flood-hit village of Hambledon were preparing themselves for an uneasy 48 hours as another fierce storm moves off the Atlantic and across south Hampshire tomorrow night.

Yesterday, winds were recorded at up to 55mph along the south coast, but defences held up.

Almost three quarters of an inch of rain fell yesterday and a further three inches of rain is expected over the next few days. It will fall on to heavily-saturated ground, leading to an increase in flood risk for villages such as Hambledon and Finchdean.

Villagers in Hambledon were hoping for no power cuts as around 1,000 pumps are working round-the-clock to stop properties flooding.

The groundwater reading at the borehole at Broadhalfpenny Down is currently about 75m and could rise by a further 5m over the next week.

The Environment Agency warned the run-off from all the successive storms could have a ‘significant impact’.

And there was anger as First Bus did not run any services through Hambledon yesterday.

A crisis meeting was held as large single-decker buses have been running, but the roads are now in such a poor state that it is no longer feasible.

Villagers wanted a mini-bus, but at the last minute, First Bus announced it would not be able to run a service yesterday.

Tony Higham, chairman of Hambledon Flood Action Group, said: ‘It’s extremely disappointing.

‘Here’s everybody else keeping the show on the road, the dustbin men have been out, the newspaper man and the post man, and they can’t run a bus service.

‘It’s not just any bus service – it’s a lifeline.’

Hampshire County Council will today begin a mini-bus service from Lotts General Store to Denmead to join up with the First Bus service.

A spokeswoman for First Bus said the underside of three buses were damaged while travelling over Southern Water pipes.

Meanwhile, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard was shut yesterday afternoon after high winds caused several roof tiles to fall off on Boathouse 4.

A decision was made to guide all visitors to the exit and shut the popular attraction.

A spokeswoman said: ‘Being on the seafront means we are affected by high winds and they just got worse throughout the day.

‘Our customers were really understanding.’