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Flooding 101: What You Need To Know


Flooding 101: What You Need To Know

Flooding can be dangerous and can happen very quickly. Risks differ around the country depending on geographical features, weather patterns and human activities. It occurs from the natural processes of heavy rain, tidal surges and raised groundwater levels, amongst others.

South East and London

This region is vulnerable to various types of flooding, including:

River flooding

Many areas are close to rivers that can overflow due to persistent heavy rainfall. This can cause their banks to overflow and inundate areas that are normally dry.

Surface water flooding:

Also known as flash floods. These happen during periods of intense rainfall falling onto hard surfaces. Drainage systems can become overwhelmed, leading to flash floods. These types of floods are tricky to predict, often happening very quickly. 

Coastal flooding

Coastal flooding occurs when low lying land is submerged by sea water. With a significant portion of the South East coast lying close to sea level, storm surges and high tides can pose serious risks, especially in estuarine areas.

Groundwater flooding:

This is a lesser-known type of flood. It happens when the level of water within the rock or soil underground (the water table) rises. When the water table rises and reaches ground level, water starts to seep through the surface and flooding can happen. It can rise up through floors, basements and cellars. It’s a much slower process than river flooding and would usually take weeks or months to appear after prolonged heavy rainfall.

It is most common in areas where the bedrock is chalk (areas of the Downs and Dorset). 

Climate change
Global warming is increasing the likelihood for more extreme weather which in turn will increase the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, thereby heightening flood risks. Additionally, continued development in flood plains and insufficient flood defences in some areas can compound these risks.

Preparing yourself
Effects can be devastating but there are a number of things you can do to prepare for flooding to keep yourself and your family safe:

  • Consult with the UK’s Environment Agency (or other local bodies responsible for managing flood risks and defences) for the most current flood risk information. They provide real-time updates and warnings.
  • Sign Up for Warnings: Register for flood alerts through the Environment Agency’s Flood Warning Information Service.
  • Flood Risk Awareness: Check flood maps through the Environment Agency or your local council website to understand if your area is prone to flooding.
  • Emergency Plan: Establish a personal flood plan for you and your family. Include contact information, emergency meeting points and plans for pets.
  • Emergency Kit: Prepare a bag with essentials like medication, important documents sealed in a waterproof bag, a torch with extra batteries and enough food and water for a few days.
  • Protect Your Property: If you’re in a high-risk area, use flood-resistant materials for doors, walls and floors. Flood skirts can also be a temporary defence.
  • Install Non-Return Valves: Fit these to drains and water pipes to prevent sewage from back flowing into your property during a flood.
  • Adapt Your Living Space: Where possible, move valuable items and electrical devices to higher levels in your home.
  • Understand Your Insurance: Check that you have adequate flood insurance coverage and understand what your policy entails.
  • Property Maintenance: To prevent water build-up, ensure gutters, drains and the roof are properly maintained.
  • Community Networks: Join local community groups focused on flood prevention and management. These can offer valuable support and information.

    Preventative steps are important to reduce the impact of potential flooding in London.

If you would like to speak to me to gain additional advice about flooding precautions then please get in touch. 

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