VILLAGES in St Neots are being warned to expect flooding in the next 24 hours. A flood warning, issued by the Environment Agency, names Eynesbury, Eaton Ford, St Neots, Little Paxton and Offord as areas that may be affected. The definition of the warning

VILLAGES in St Neots are being warned to expect flooding in the next 24 hours.

A flood warning, issued by the Environment Agency, names Eynesbury, Eaton Ford, St Neots, Little Paxton and Offord as areas that may be affected.

The definition of the warning is that there may be flooding of homes and businesses. There may also be flooding of low lying land and roads so residents in those areas need to be aware.

The roads near to Little Paxton as well as Buckden and the Offords may become impassable due to the flood waters.

Drivers should take care when driving in these areas and where road signs are displayed warning of floods, drivers should not drive through the water.

The flood peak is expected to reach the St Neots area at 3am tomorrow (Wednesday), covering the flood plain, but the Environment Agency expects no problems for properties.

Nigel Woonton, area flood risk manager, said the peak was travelling downstream from Bedford and was likely to cause difficulties for drivers between the Offords and Little Paxton.

The surge is likely to reach St Ives at 8pm on Wednesday and Earith at about 4.30am on Thursday,

"It will be the first test of the new flood defences at St Ives and Hemingford Grey and, as a precautionary measure, we have closed the seven flood gates," Mr Woonton said.

"The Great Ouse caught the fringe of the heavy rainfall that has caused such problems in Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, with 45mm falling in a 10-hour period. But the rest of the catchment had only 15mm - less in some places."

The EA and police are advising drivers not to leave their vehicles in the Riverside car park at St Neots or the Dolphin car park in St Ives until the surge has passed. Huntingdon's Riverside car park is not expected to be inundated.

As far as the Great Ouse is concerned, 2007 is not about to redefine the peak floods of 60 years ago, Mr Woonton added.

For regular weather updates, visit www.metoffice.gov.uk

The fire service has drawn up a guide to help people prepare for a flood.

This includes:

- Keep a list of useful numbers somewhere you'll remember: local council, the emergency services, insurance company and the Environment Agency's Floodline number (0845 988 1188).

- Keep checking the Floodline

- Make a flood kit. Keep a torch, battery or wind-up radio, and necessary medication, emergency numbers, rubber gloves and your insurance policy in a safe place, upstairs if possible.

- Find out where to turn off your gas and electricity supplies.

INFORMATION: The quick dial Floodline telephone number for the Ouse is 0845 988 1188 followed by 03361