OFFICIALS admit they do not know how high water levels will get as the city prepares for heavy rain tomorrow.

The Environment Agency has urged communities to be prepared, with heavy rainfall expected tomorrow.

Water levels on the River Thames continue to rise slowly, but West Oxford, South Hinksey and South Oxford are all areas that officials say may flood.

The agency says it does not know how high the water levels could get. Spokeswoman Lucy Gilmore said: “In terms of the impact the rain forecast over the next few days will have, we are not able to conclusively say at this stage.

“It depends where the rain falls, over what period of time and how the rivers respond to it.

“What we do know is that the ground is very saturated and the river levels are still very high.

“We are constantly monitoring the river levels and how they respond and we will issue further alerts and warnings if we believe there is a risk of property flooding.”

Banbury Cake:

Oxford Mail reader Chris Wright took this picture of a cyclist braving up to a foot of flood water on Mesopotamia Walk near Oxford’s University Parks on Sunday

Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council say they are monitoring the situation closely.

Businesses in areas worst hit during January fear they are facing another large loss of trade.

Narinder Bhella, owner of the Green Gables Guest House in Abingdon Road, said: “Last time we had to cancel all the bookings we had because nobody could get in or out when the road closed.

“I believe we lost about £1,700 just from loss of advance bookings, but we likely lost more from other guests we would have also had during the week.

“More flooding would be a big problem for us.

“When you take responsibility for a booking, you also have to find alternative accommodation for your guests if they cannot get to you.

“We are almost fully booked for the next few weeks, so the thought of losing that business and the cost it would result in is really worrying.”

Activists from the Oxford Flood Alliance are also monitoring flood indicators.

Banbury Cake:

Oxford Mail reader Chris Wright also took this picture of a walker at Mesopotamia Walk

But John Mastroddi, the group’s Kennington representative, said that for now the situation was stable.

Mr Mastroddi told the Oxford Mail: “We are not concerned at the moment, but will be watching the flood levels carefully. We will be ready to take action if necessary.”

Dave Bedlington, from the Environment Agency, said that groundwater levels remained high.

He said: “We are urging communities to prepare in advance by signing up for free flood warnings and to take action if they receive one.”

An Oxford City Council spokesman said sandbags would be available if needed.

The spokesman said: “We have also alerted staff that they may be needed if the situation changes in the city.”

The Environment Agency has several teams out across Oxfordshire, monitoring river levels, maintaining defences and clearing trash screens to keep rivers flowing freely.

Data from the agency yesterday morning showed water levels were at 2.42m at King’s Mill off Marston Road, Oxford.

The highest level ever recorded there is 2.69m. In the July 2007 floods, levels reached 2.58m.