It's summer - prepare for flooding

11 June 2015

With the effects of climate change, we can expect erratic and dramatic weather through the summer. The prospect of flooding hasn’t disappeared through the change of season, the water table remains high and the prospect of flash floods remains throughout the summer.

The water table tends to be lower during the summer. The difference between the level of the winter and summer water table is known as the "zone of intermittent saturation", meaning the water table will change in response to climatic conditions.

As local authorities cut back on non-essential services, gully cleaning becomes less of a priority. It’s always been a never-ending cycle, so does it matter if it’s done at a slower pace? More and more surface water drains (especially on roadways) cease to function as they should, causing surface water run off to become an issue. 

This is further compounded by ground becoming dry and sun-baked solid. Heavy rain will not soak into the soil, but will run off to the nearest watercourse, causing the water to go into spate (fast flowing high volume). When several watercourses come together in these circumstances there‘s nothing more certain than a flash flood.

Can you prepare for a flash flood?

If the indications are there then you must be prepared! The indications being, surface water streams running in times of heavy rain. Remember, you don't have to be living near a river to suffer a flash flood. Being prepared means paying attention to weather forecasts and there are weather warnings readily available from the Met Office here. Having some flood resistance measures, like alternative sandbags to hand might be useful. Don't keep precious or sentimental items near to or on the floor downstairs.

It’s also good to bear in mind that flash floods can be dangerous. Fast flowing water rising to only a few centimetres deep can knock you off your feet.

  • Know your risk
  • Be prepared
  • Have a plan
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Free Ebook for communities: How to prepare for flooding and other emergencies.


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