Travel warning after roads flood in Chichester area

House flood
Image caption Residents have been evacuated from basement flats in Littlehampton

People in the Bognor and Chichester areas of West Sussex have been urged to travel only if essential after roads became impassable due to flooding.

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said road travel in the county was difficult following heavy rain. Rail services have also been affected.

The service appealed to residents only to ring 999 in an emergency.

Some of the county's holiday camps have been forced to transfer customers to other sites.

Roads affected by flooding include the A27, A259, and A29 and the A22 at East Grinstead.

The A27 has been closed in both directions, leading to 12-mile traffic tailbacks in the area. Cars were stranded on the A259 at Felpham.

Havens' Church Farm holiday camp, near Chichester, has reported that 60 of its 900 caravan pitches are knee deep in water, with some of its customers being transferred to a site in Hastings.

Butlins said access roads to its camp in Bognor Regis were closed. The company has urged customers to contact it to rearrange their breaks.

Manhole danger

Fire crews were called to Worthing Hospital overnight after up to 3ft (90cm) of water flooded the hospital's basement and lift shaft.

The flooding did not affect any patients and the water was pumped out by the fire service, but the hospital said emergencies had to be diverted to Brighton and Chichester for several hours.

A spokesman said additional flood defences had been put in place in anticipation of further heavy rainfall which was forecast for Monday afternoon.

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Media captionWater levels in the River Mole have been rising steadily in the heavy rain

Residents in Littlehampton were evacuated from more than 20 basement flats on the seafront which were flooded by 4ft (1.2m) of water.

A temporary rest centre was set up at the town's Inspire Leisure Centre, but all those affected have since been found alternative accommodation, said Arun District Council.

The fire service warned there was a danger of lifted manhole covers and water contaminated with sewage.

The Environment Agency has issued warnings of a continued risk of surface flooding in Sussex, Surrey and Kent.

Three flood warnings are in place in West Sussex, one at Barnham and two on the Aldingbourne Rife.

The Environment Agency issues three levels of flood advice - severe flood warning, flood warning and flood alert. A flood warning means that flooding is expected and immediate action is required.

There are 43 flood alerts in force for rivers across the South East.

Up to 65mm (2.5in) of rain has fallen on Bognor Regis since Sunday evening, the agency said.

Howard Davidson said: "We've had a lot of rain, some areas had a month's rainfall in just 24 hours, and unfortunately this has caused some surface water flooding to properties.

"With a more unsettled weather forecast for the rest of the week, those at risk should take steps to limit the damage a flood can cause to themselves and their property."

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Media captionSwillington resident, Helen Escritt: "In 30 minutes we were completely flooded. It was horrendous."

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