There are many variables that cause a flood, such as when and where a storm will hit, how much rain it will bring and in what time frame it might come at. But sometimes the warnings we hear on the news can come a little too late when a flash flood occurs.
Short periods of intense rainfall can create flash floods and rumours of ‘a month’s rain to fall in just nine hours’ the night before can mean a little too late. Especially in the middle of August when we’re planning a summer barbeque rather than a comforting winter stew!
According to EA*, SEPA* and Northern Ireland’s Rivers Agency, over 5 million properties in the UK are at risk of flooding. So what can you do to prepare for potential floods?
Check for weather warnings
The Met Office provides up-to-date weather advisories and warns the public of severe or hazardous weather through its National Severe Weather Warning Service. Based on a colour rating of Green, Yellow, Amber or Red the weather and will help you prepare for the likelihood and severity of the impact the weather conditions might have.
Now we don’t expect you to be constantly checking the Met Office website just in case it floods, but you can sign up for email alerts if you are particularly prone to floods.
You can also sign up for flood warnings via the environment agency.
It also might be worth jotting down the flood line number, available 24 hours a day, in times of an emergency, on 0845 988 1188 for England, Scotland and Wales.
Preparation is key
Even if you are in a low risk area of flooding, you will need to consider what you can do ‘just in case’. What would you do if your property or business premises were flooded? Do you have the right plan in place?
It might be a good idea to create a personal flood plan, particularly useful to limit damage time to your business or premises.
When considering a plan, you might want to think about creating a flood kit, containing:
- Bottled water and non-perishable food
- Warm clothing and blankets
- First aid kit and any prescription medicine
- Insurance documents
- Battery powered radio
If you know a flood is going to hit, you are going to want to prepare your property as best as you can to protect your belongings and limit damage. As well as making it as safe as possible: Elevating any electrical goods away from lower levels and possible flood areas within your property, for example; you could consider installing ‘check valves’ to prevent floodwater from backing up into drains; and construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering the building.
During a flood
This is where all your preparation will hopefully pay off. But it’s worth remembering that, although you may have done all the preparation, sometimes flash flooding might win. Think about streams or rivers, drainage channels and other areas that could flood suddenly. If there is a possibility of flash flooding move immediately to higher ground, do not wait for instructions to do so, as flash floods can take hold within a matter of hours.
*Environmental Agency (EA) and Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)