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Storms deluge historic British city, threaten chaos

Published on Sep 27, 2012 7:00 PM
Water continues to cascade over the end of where a landslip caused by flooding has cut across a road outside a block of flats where the foundations have been damaged at the village of Newburn near Newcastle in north-east England on Sept 28, 2012. -- PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Britain's most severe September storms for 30 years flooded homes and businesses in the historic city of York on Thursday and threatened chaos for much of northern England.

Residents took to boats to navigate the picturesque streets of the city dating from Roman times but officials said flood defences would cope as the River Ouse reached near record levels, 3m higher than normal.

City of York Council insisted the centre was "very much open for business" despite 80 properties being flooded while defences in the nearby village of Cawood were bolstered overnight by 4,000 sandbags.

"Loads of staff have been working through the night to protect the city," said Ms Sally Burns from the council, who said experts believed the river levels had peaked. "We need to be careful and make sure we are giving (sandbags) to the people who are a priority, we can see on the monitors where the problems are."

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