Somerset, Friday, 7th February 2014: Severe flood warnings are in place for Somerset as successive bands of rain show no signs of easing. Further heavy rainfall is expected on Friday and Saturday, exacerbating the risks of flooding from rivers and surface water across the south west, central and south east of England. Environment Agency teams were out yesterday and overnight deploying temporary defences at Northmoor and Fordgate on the Somerset Levels, to protect around 30 homes. More demountable defences are being delivered today from around the country. Teams will continue to be out on the Levels today pumping, erecting defences and deploying sandbags.
Severe weather along the coast is also set to return on Saturday, with large waves and strong winds threatening to cause flooding along the Devon and Dorset coasts where some communities and defences are vulnerable after this week’s storms.
Two severe flood warnings which mean that there is danger to life – have been issued across the south west. Flood warnings are updated on the Environment Agency website every 15 minutes.
Since Friday evening over 160,000 homes have been protected from flooding and over 109,000 properties have been sent a free flood warning. Around 413 homes have been flooded.
Since early December, the country has faced an extraordinary period of severe weather and flooding. However, flood schemes have defended more than 1.2 million homes and businesses, and protected nearly 2,500 square kilometres of farmland across England.
This week Environment Agency staff continue to be out in force 24/7 deploying demountable defences, repairing damaged coastal defences, deploying sandbags along riverbanks, clearing river blockages, monitoring water levels, and sending out flood warnings. Environment Agency staff from across the country have been sent to provide support in affected areas. The pumping operation on the Somerset Levels continues around the clock, with up to 2.9 million tonnes of water being pumped off the Levels every day – the equivalent of three Wembley Stadiums.
John Curtin, head of incident management at the Environment Agency, said:
“We’re preparing for successive bands of heavy rain forecast into the weekend, groundwater and river levels are already high following the wettest January on record for England.”
“With further river and coastal flooding expected this week we continue to have teams working around the clock to protect homes and communities and we are mobilising staff from across the Environment Agency to provide support in affected areas. Over 122,600 properties have been protected over the past few days. ”
“We urge people to stay safe and not to walk or drive through flood water which can be dangerous and to take care near coastal paths and promenades for fear of being swept away. In the face of this severe weather and continuing flood risk we would also remind people that they can sign up to receive free flood warnings, check their flood risk and keep up to date with the latest situation on the Environment Agency website and on social media using #floodaware.”
Dangers of Floodwater
- Flood water can carry raw sewage, dangerous chemicals and disease.
- Six inches of fast flowing water can knock you off your feet.
- 30 cm of flowing water is enough to move a car.
- Just an egg cupful of water in the combustion chamber could be enough to wreck an engine.
Information Courtesy: The Environment Agency