Unusually wet summer could mean flooding this winter.
This summer’s unusually wet weather means there is a higher risk of flooding in autumn and winter, the Environment Agency and Met Office has warned today.
The wettest April to June on record, and further wet weather in July, September and October, has left river levels full, the ground saturated and ground waters in some areas exceptionally high. Emergency responders as well as householders are being advised to be prepared for flooding, which, due to the saturated conditions, could hit with relatively small amounts of rain.
Increased flood risk
The Environment Agency and Met Office are warning that:
- There is an increased likelihood of flooding from rivers in November and December, especially in the South West of England. Northern and Western parts of England and Wales also have an increased risk after recent heavy rainfall.
- Groundwater levels are also unseasonably high following this summer’s unprecedented rainfall. There is increased risk of flooding from ground water in the south and east of England with Devon, Dorset and Hampshire particularly at risk.
- Flooding from surface water – where the amount of rainfall overwhelms the drainage network – is more likely as the ground is already saturated.
- The risk of coastal flooding also increases at this time of year, especially during periods of high spring tides from 12-18 November and 12-18 December.
Paul Mustow, head of Flood Incident Management at the Environment Agency, said: 'This year our flood defences have protected over 119,000 properties, but we cannot prevent flooding entirely.
'With one in six homes at risk of flooding, the most important step people can take in protecting themselves from the worst impacts is to find out if they are at risk, and sign up to the Environment Agency’s free flood warnings service.
'As winter approaches we’d encourage everyone to take this one step to help protect themselves from what is recognised as the country’s number one natural hazard.'
Sign up for free flood warnings
Over 1.1 million people are signed up to receive Environment Agency flood warnings – which can be sent by email, text, or a message to a landline or mobile phone. This summer over 100,000 households were warned of potential flooding, giving people essential time to protect their homes and possessions.
Households and businesses can check their flood risk and sign up to receive free flood warnings.
Sarah Jackson, the Met Office's chief adviser to the Government said: 'We are heading into the winter period which is traditionally the wetter period of the year in the UK. Because the ground is so wet, if we do have any prolonged heavy rainfall in any part of the country, there is going to be heightened risk of flooding.
'We recommend that everyone keeps up-to-date with the latest forecasts and warnings in periods of wet weather to be prepared.'
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Notes to editors
- Ground water is water that is naturally stored beneath the ground in porous rock formations, known as aquifers.
- Groundwater flooding takes longer to dissipate because groundwater moves much more slowly than surface water and will take time to flow away underground.
- We are supporting the Get Ready for Winter initiative, which gives practical advice to individuals, families and communities about how to prepare for Winter.
- Winter weather can be severe and challenging with flooding, gales, severe cold, snow and ice to deal with.
- Get Ready for Winter