The prolonged heatwave that the UK has experienced is set to come to an end today with forecasters predicting heavy downpours for the majority of the country and the insurer is warning this could lead to localised flooding caused by surface-water run-off.
A combination of climate change, development on flood plains and more hard-standing surfaces has reduced the drainage capacity of land across the country. This means that during heavy downpours surface water can’t drain away quickly enough causing flash floods.
David Parkinson, risk manager at Ecclesiastical explained: “Flash flooding can happen miles away from established watercourses and can occur where there is no history of previous flooding problems. This makes it hard to predict and means it can happen quickly but generally tends to be short lived.
“In many cases existing drains haven’t been upgraded or maintained to cope with new building developments which means that the local sewage system simply can’t deal with the increased volumes of water run-off.”
In June 2017 the South East including parts of London suffered a series of flash floods as severe thunderstorms made their way inland and in August, northern England was also hit with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service receiving 23 flood related calls in the space of just two hours.
David added: “Last summer several of our customers were affected, so we have been monitoring the weather systems closely this year to make sure that we can act quickly and provide guidance and support before any such event.”
Ecclesiastical is urging homeowners to take precautions if they are in an area that is under a flood warning.
“People living in an area that might be susceptible to any form of flooding should think about what they might need to do in the event of a flood. Make sure you have a list of key contacts such as the emergency services, an electrician, a Gas Safe Contractor and your insurer in a safe and waterproof place. If a flood warning is issued move valuable items to higher ground and keep up to date with the latest alerts from the Met Office or the Environment Agency.“