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Floods: Wet summer forecast
FLOOD-HIT Oxfordshire has been warned it faces another wet summer, but officials have promised nervous householders they are now better prepared.
The county has suffered major flooding three times in the past 12 months, including the deluge on Tuesday which saw schools shut, homes flooded and roads closed.
The weather also brought back painful memories to the thousands of homeowners hit by last July's floods, and prompted questions about whether the county could handle a repeat.
The Met Office said there would be no prolonged period of dry weather during the summer and warned spells of heavy rain and flash floods were likely.
Met Office forecaster John Hammond said: "We are going to get heavy spells or rain and I understand people are apprehensive."
But he stressed a repeat of last July's floods was unlikely.
Jill Moss, who lives in West Street, off Botley Road, Oxford, said she was not confident the authorities would be able to save Osney Island - which was flooded badly last July - if it were hit again.
She said: "It was so stressful last year. It was scary.
"I'm a widow and I had to move all my furniture by myself."
Bridge Street flood victim Tom Mardle, 25, had his fingers crossed.
He said: "Every time it rains they have to pump the drains. It's ridiculous.
"They are not doing anything proactive. It's all reactive."
Geoff Bell, area flood risk manager for the Environment Agency, assured people the authorities were in a better position than last summer, although he understood their concerns.
He said: "Everybody has learnt lessons, but it's a mammoth task.
"To say how much better off we are is difficult.
"There's no quick or cheap solution to reducing the risk of flooding. We are making sure our warnings are better and people are better prepared."
Oxford City Council said "good progress" had been made since last July.
Executive director Tim Sadler said a sandbag store had been set up at the Environment Agency's Osney Depot and the council had bought flood barriers for East Street and West Street.
An emergency vehicle stocked with more than 1,000 anti-flood water bags was also now based at the council's City Works depot.
Oxfordshire County Council said it had spent £588,000 on flood protection.
Steve Howell, head of transport, said: "It will never be possible to eliminate problems altogether, but we are in a better position across the county now than in previous times."
Oxfordshire Fire Service's assistant chief fire officer Dave Etheridge said that in the event of further flooding, the service would act "as pro-actively as possible, as early as possible".
Vale of White Horse District Council leader Tony de Vere said his council was also better prepared.