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MORE PICTURES: Flood alert in Northwich
NERVOUS business owners are watching floodwaters rise in Northwich town centre.
Paul Harris, from Northwich Fireplace Centre, has been at work since 3am after he received a flood warning call at 2.30am.
His business is just off the Bull Ring and nearest the confluence of the River Dane and the River Weaver.
He spoke to the Guardian as the water was about a metre from his front door.
"I think we are the first to go," he said.
"This is the worst I've seen it in nine years but I hope it's going to miss us.
"I was here at 3am and it was fine, but it got really bad at 7am.
"I've just had a refurb at the showroom - in fact, it's not quite finished.
"I've had new floors, suites, decorating, lighting.
"I suppose you've just got to put it down to experience."
Staff at Temples Letting Agents evacuated their car park and moved all electrical equipment to the tops of desks.
Natalie Williams, director, said she and her husband Gary had returned home from holiday in Halkidiki to the flood warning.
"We were next to a marina looking at the boats on holiday, now we're almost in the river," she said.
"I've stopped looking out of the window because every time I do the water has got higher.
"We went across to help Paul this morning and everyone here is really pulling together."
Clive Steggel, from CRS Consultants, is no stranger to floods in Northwich and was trying to keep drains near Northwich Fireplace Centre unblocked.
"When I first started CRS in 1977 I was opposite the cinema.
"I'd cashed in my pension scheme and everything to start the business and I saw the water gradually rising up the road, but it stopped just before it got to my door.
"That's why I had my current building lifted 4ft in 1984 but you just don't know what could happen."