Summer Flash Floods

Article by Roxanna Stevenson 17 July 2017

Flash flood sweeps through Coverack in Cornwall

Residents in Coverack, Cornwall have been innundated with water as flash flooding hit the village on the Lizard Peninsula yesterday afternoon. Following sudden, heavy rainfall, it is estimated that 50 properties have been affected by the flooding. The flood event came after heavy, localised thunderstorms hit the village with many residents witnessing hailstones as big as 50p peices.

Warm, dry weather conditions can sometimes mean that flooding is far from people’s minds, however being prepared is still just as important. Flooding can happen at any time of the year and presents just as much threat in summer as it does in winter. Flooding in summer can be just as devastating with heavy rain falling after periods of long, dry weather leaving the ground hard and unable to absorb water. 

Typically, the water table tends to be lower during the summer periods, however, more frequent downpours can raise the water table. 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.

Summer Winter Water Table

A study by the MET office and Newcastle University found that summers would be drier overall but with more extreme downpours. With drier summers comes dry, hardened, compacted soil where water is absorbed less easily and future storms could cause flash floods.

Flash Flood

Rain in summer can also be heavy and sudden due to thunderstorms causing flash floods with potentially devastating results. The speed in which flash flooding occurs can have huge consequences due to the lack of warning and the speed and volume of water.

 

Sources: BBC, MET Office

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