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Flooding blocks roads

(December 13, 2008)
HEAVY early morning rain caused flooding problems today, writes Paul Macdonald.
The usual Fore Street flooding problem was accompanied by the fire brigade working in Bath Road between the Minster Church and Furnax Lane.
The road was closed off at the Obelisk.
 When the water receded there was still a fountainspurting out of the manhole cover at the Boreham Road/ Woodcock Road junction.
 There was also flooding in Portway Lane by the shop.
 By lunchtime drivers still had to be careful not to splash pedestrians in Fairfield Road where the water forced cyclists out into the middle of the road.
 Highways workers had to deal with a bank collapsed across half of the road near the Bell Hill entrance to Marsh Street.
 In Warminster park the River Were broke its banks for a 200 yard stretch cutting off the footpath to the playing field, the bike park and the nature reserve. (See our hot pictures section)
Bus services to Frome were badly hit with serveral diversions around Frome while there was also some disruption to train services through Westbury.
The flooding severly affected neighbouring areas with the only way for buses through Westbury being the narrow Frogmore route.
The A36 to Bath was also subject to delays while the road into Frome saw a car stranded in the flood between the A367 and the Asda store.
 "I can see one one silver lining to these clouds," said Paul Macdonald. "Lets hope people will stay in Warminster to do their Christmas shopping this weekend."
Meanwhile, a long strech of road in the Henford Marsh area was flooded with water several feet deep.
A Peugeot 307 was left stranded when the driver attempted to make his way through the waters.
"I ran out of power not out of road," said the driver who was waiting for assistance near the car park of Smallbrook nature reserve.
Problems were also reported in the garrison area. Officers' quarters at Elm Hill were said to be cut off on all sides for a time this morning.
Cold start to winter
The Met Office has revealed that the UK has had the coldest start to winter in over 30 years.
The UK average temperature for the first third of December has been only 1.7 °C compared to the long-term average of 4.7 °C.
 The cold temperatures are in stark contrast to the recent run of very mild winters that have been dominant across the UK.
The last time the UK average temperatures gave such a cold start to December was in 1976 when the average temperature was a chilly 0.8 °C.
 The Met Office seasonal forecast predicted the cold start to the winter season with milder conditions expected during January and February – although still with the chance of cold weather at times.
 The colder weather is set to continue into next week. Chief Forecaster at the Met Office Nick Grahame said: "The start of the weekend will bring a spell of wet and windy weather as milder Atlantic air attempts to push across the country.
 "However, colder air looks set to win the battle again which means that frost and ice will become hazards with the risk of snow in places".

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