Around 400 homes were flooded as a result of Storm Christoph earlier this year, the Environment Agency has confirmed. Severe rain weather warnings, meaning ‘danger to life’, were issued for parts of northern and central England, while separate yellow warnings, meaning ‘be aware’, were confirmed for rain, wind, snow and ice cover across large areas of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Between 8 February and 1 March 2020, storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge blew across the Atlantic, bringing heavy rain and severe flooding. The rainfall saw many rivers burst their banks following record river levels in the Midlands, Yorkshire and Lancashire, with severe flood warnings issued to householders. Storms Ciara and Dennis alone caused an estimated £214 million of flood damage to 3,500 homes and 1,500 businesses.
Worryingly, experts warn that future extremes of rainfall are expected to exceed the harsh conditions we have already experienced – due to climate change. Several pointers in the latest UK State of the Climate report show that the UK’s climate is becoming wetter. For example, 2019 rainfall for the UK overall was 107% of the 1981–2010 average and 112% of the 1961–1990 average. Furthermore, 2010–2019 was on average 1% wetter than 1981–2010 and 5% wetter than 1961–1990 for the UK overall. In addition, six of the ten wettest years for the UK in a series from 1862 have occurred since 1998.
As large parts of the UK are set to continue to be affected by flooding, the effects of prolonged excessive rainfall can lead to many negative impacts on society and its residents. After all, if a customer’s home is flooded, it is one of the most distressing and dangerous thing that can happen. Therefore, we have compiled some helpful advice for you to share with your customers, to help to reduce the damage caused:
1. Get the most up-to-date information: Anyone can sign up for free flood alerts provided by the Environmental Agency here
2. Be ready in case of disaster: It’s essential to create an emergency plan that includes which areas of the house require preparation for flooding. For example, it’s not just through doorways that water can enter a property – air bricks are an easily overlooked way for water to invade
3. Make it actionable: Include actions to be taken in the plan, for example, in the event of flooding – householders should turn off gas, electricity and water at the mains before water enters. Know where these switches are located – keep torches and batteries in a safe place for after dark
4. Be sure to block up plugs: Should the worse happen and a flood strikes, customers should insert plugs in the sinks and bath to stop water from entering the property. Consider weighing down plugs with bags of soil or compost
5. Don’t forget about pets: Floods can happen whilst customers are out, so ensuring pets are secure and elevated is very important
6. Get your kit together: Prepare an emergency pack that includes medicines, water, food, clothing, important documents such as passports and insurance contact details
7. Electrics and water do not mix: If a household falls in an at risk area, it’s a good idea to elevate electrical devices and plug sockets where possible – for example, wall mount TVs
8. Fit flood-resistant doors and windows: These are specially designed to withstand impact by flood water, whilst also creating a water-resistant seal on the exterior of a home
9. Hold back the river: Stock up on sandbags or sand-less alternatives to use as effective flood barriers, so there is no last-minute panic buying
10. Keep valuables safe: For high value but moveable items, customers should consider storing them in the loft if they aren’t used regularly. Alternatively, waterproof storage boxes are effective for high value items and should be stored at a high position. Householders can enter their postcode HERE to find out the current flood risk associated with their property
According to academics at the University of York and the National Centre for Social Research, people whose homes are damaged by storms or flooding are significantly more likely to experience mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. Customers and their immediate family members can now each access five confidential counselling sessions with a qualified mental health professional.
Have any questions? please don’t hesitate to contact one of our team