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Things are beginning to return to normal after the Environment Agency's flood warning Web site was swamped with demand last week.

From last Thursday, surfers inquiring on the Agency's site about the likely impact on them of Britain's recent bad weather were treated with '504 Gateway Timeout' messages instead. If they were lucky the got a message asking them to call a 24-hour flood line (0845 988 1188) for more information.

British surfers were left distinctly unchuffed by the lack on information online during a critical period.

"It's rather annoying when now is the time when lost of people would like to know whether to start building an ark with the cordless drill they got for Christmas," one punter told us.

The site was completely unavailable on Friday but by today the Agency has set up an interim service (which in fairness is pretty informative). The Agency apologises for the temporary withdrawal of its full (searchable) service, which it hopes to restore by later this evening. Its techies are working overtime to get everything back up and running.

A spokeswoman for the Agency that problems with the site were linked to unusually high demand, confirming what many of you suspected.

Prior to January 2 (when all the trouble began), the site was running Microsoft IIS has now moved to Apache. Data from Netcraftprovides evidence that site has gone through a number of platform changes in the last two years. ®

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