Flooding in England!

Oxford Travel Blog

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So apparently over the weekend while we were in Edinburgh, it rained in Southern England. And by rain, I mean there were monsoons. We first heard about it when we went to the train station on Sunday to catch our direct service back to Oxford. When we got there, the train was only going to Birmingham, which is about half-way. Uh-oh. So we go to the info desk.

Uninformed Americans: "Why is our train only going to Birmingham and not all the way to Oxford?"

Knowledgable Train Info Man: "The train tracks all around Oxford are washed out or underwater from all the flooding."

Well crap. Not the best thing to hear early on Sunday morning. But luckily, we were fine. We were able to take a train into London King's Cross, take the tube over to Paddington station, and catch a train from there. They were able to run trains between London Paddington and Oxford. Though it cost us some time and a little money, we got to take pictures with the faux 9 3/4 platform at King's Cross (from Harry Potter) and one of the girls got to buy a genuine Paddington bear at well, Paddington. And I got to ride the London Tube for the first time. Yay.

I guess I didn't realize the extent of the damage until I went around town on Monday and Tuesday afternoons. I read the news online and saw how so many people lost their homes, a few people died, and so many had to evacuated- including half of Oxford! It's funny how I could have easily gone about my day in class at the college, nap, etc like I always do and not really understand the full situation. That's becuase we were on high enough ground at the college that we just had some annoying puddles and not really much else.

If you've read my earlier blog entries, you'll see how in every city on the travel portion it rained on the 3rd and final day, seriously, without fail. Never on the 1st or 2nd days in a city, always the 3rd and last, just enough to mess up plans to finish seeing stuff in a city. So one time I joked "wow, since it's raining this bad on the 3rd day, we'll have monsoons in Oxford before we leave!" How little did I know how right I would be, unfortunately. The weather sure has been bad, but it actually has been really bad. This summer has been one of the colder ones they've had in several years, but it's actually been the wettest one in 60 years. 60! And it still continues to rain, not helping the flooding! What a summer to pick to come to Oxford. But any summer is better than not at all...

The flooding also threatened to ruin all plans for the upcoming weekend. This is because the trains were not running at all out of Oxford for the past few days and it was not looking good. As Oxford is downstream from all the other floods, the river is actually rising more and more as flood waters recede from other towns and come down to us. So it's actually getting worse for the time being instead of better. So except for the few people that were flying over to the continent for the weekend, many of us were concerned that we would just have to stay here.

Not being able to get to Holyhead (which is where you catch the ferry to Dublin) because of the floods, we had to cancel our plans to go to Ireland for the weekend. To be honest, I was ok with this because I didn't really want to spend the money anyway. But it was looking like we would be able to go to London and maybe somewhere closeby.

I went out walking with a friend, Luke, last night and we stopped by Christ Church meadows. Fields literally looked like lakes where the water was at least half a foot deep. The river was so far swelled we couldn't tell where it was normally supposed to be. In fact, they had half the meadows closed completely.

I went out walking with another friend, George, this afternoon to see some colleges. It was nice to look to see some of the other out of 30some college of the whole university. But we then stopped by the Thames, which is just behind the train station, to see the extent of the damage there. It was so bad the road was submerged, boats were taken underwater, and the current was moving incredibly fast. Crazy!

I have never been in a "flood" situation and I actually wasn't even in this situation. I hope all goes well for the people affected directly!
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photo by: petit_gooroo