The misconceptions of flooding

Blog Post by Christina Worsley 05 September 2014

How many times do you see flood events on the television or in the press and think that won’t happen to me?

A staggering 1 in 6 people live in a flood risk area in the UK and it's likely that this figure will rise with more extreme weather events predicted.

The common misconceptions.....

  • I live on a hill so I won’t flood...

Properties on a hill can still suffer flooding from surface water run off, sewerage, groundwater and even a burst water pipe.

  • I've lived here 20 years and it's never flooded...

Just because an area hasn’t flooded in recent times doesn't mean it won’t flood. When Cockermouth flooded in 2005 the previous flood event was 1966.  Floods devastated Henley on Thames in 2014 and the previous flood event was 1947.

  • That river that will never be high enough to flood me...

The river level at Ribchester, Lancashire is typically between 0.15m and 3.9m but the highest recorded river level is 5.34m.

In Carlisle the typical level is 0.63m -3.45m and the highest recorded is 7.23m.

  • Flooding only happens in winter...

Flash floods can be severe in summer especially when the ground is baked and hard and this increases the run off of water. Boscastle flooding in August 2004 when very heavy rain fell from storms close to the village, this caused two rivers to burst their banks. About two billion litres of water then rushed down the valley straight into Boscastle. Residents had little time to react. Cars were swept out to sea, buildings were badly damaged and people had to act quickly to survive. Fortunately, nobody died - thanks largely to a huge rescue operation involving helicopters - but there was millions of pounds worth of damage.

Boscastle _RAF_Sea KingBoscastle, 2004.

Do you still think you'll never flood?

It's important that you're prepared so THINK BIG and ACT EARLY - you never know when a flood could happen next!

For more information on preparing for a flood, take a look at and the Environment Agency website.

Free Ebook for communities: How to prepare for flooding and other emergencies.


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