Boscastle floods – Ten years on

Why did Boscastle flood in 2004?

Good simple explanation video here

Case study overview here 

Met Office overview here

Plus – watch this documentary to find out more about the impacts:

Ten years on

The Boscastle floods. Ten years on BBC article

Watch edition of BBC Spotlight on what has happened over the following ten years

How has the area been managed since? Presentation

Photos: Boscastle floods 2004. Ten years on.

VIDEO – The lessons learned ten years after the Boscastle floods 

Ten years since the Boscastle floods. What, where, why, how?

Flooding on the Somerset levels 2014

Sunday 25 January 2014

A “major incident” has been declared for all areas affected by flooding in Somersetfollowing warnings of further heavy rain.

BBC VIDEO REPORT – Villagers still cut off
Residents in the village of Muchelney have been cut off for three weeks and have been reliant on volunteers in boats bringing them supplies. 

17,000 acres of land are still underwater a month after the flooding began. The council is providing support to affected residents, including temporary toilets, sandbag collection points in local villages and deliveries to the most stranded properties.
It has provided around 3,000 sandbags in the last few weeks. The council is also on standby to provide alternative temporary accommodation and set up rest centres if the situation gets worse.

Monday 27 January 2014


VIDEO – Somersetfloods: Ten tonnes of flood water pumped per second

VIDEO – ‘River needs dredging properly’ say local people.

Many people are still stranded. Many are now complaining that if The Environment Agency have dredged the rivers, the extent of the flooding would have been reduced. Meanwhile, The Environment Agency is continuing to pump water from the Somerset Levels and has extra pumps working on Northmoor and Saltmoor.

Management strategies

Somersethas set up a “tactical command group” to deal with the flooding emergency declared in the area. 
The group will include representative from the emergency services, local authorities, health organisations and utilities and will use their expertise and knowledge to tackle the issues that have arisen.
Devon and Cornwall Fire Service crews have been deployed in four wheel drive vehicles and rescue boats to provide safety advice to residents and map access routes across the affected areas.

Villagers who have been cut off from the rest of the country by floods for more than three weeks have received help from a floating bridge.
The pontoon has been set up along a country road linking the village of Muchelney to the rest of Somerset. The bridge allows villagers to walk part of the journey to dry land, however, the rest has to be completed by boat. Muchelney has been inaccessible by car and foot since 2 January 2014. Some parts of the surrounding area are 5 feet underwater.
What does it mean when a ‘major incident’ is declared?

A major incident is declared where there is a situation which could not be dealt with easily by the local council and could threaten lives, disrupt the community or damage property. It means the local authority can organise emergency evacuations, set up rest centres and mobilise voluntary organisations.
The biggest pumping operation ever is under way on the Somerset Levels, but much of the water is going into already swollen rivers. Seven tonnes of water are being pumped away from the villageof Fordgate in Somerset every second, according to an Environment Agency spokesman.
More homes on the Somerset Levels are facing flooding as water levels continue to rise, ahead of further predicted heavy rainfall this weekend. 
VIDEO REPORT – Major incident declared
The bad weather and flooding has left many farms covered by floodwater. In Somerseta lot of productive farmland has been lost, with more than 43 square miles flooded 
Useful background information on data behind the flooding can be viewed here: http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/flooding-in-the-somerset-levels-a-case-study/

Flooding on the Somerset levels is nothing new though. Watch this video from 2012:

Sources: BBC News; Sky News; The Guardian; ITV News; The Environment Agency; The Telegraph; Aztec Media Skycam; Daily Mail

Winter floods in UK 2013-14

24 December 2013

Strong winds and heavy rain has caused much disruption for home-owners and travellers trying to get home for the Christmas break. Rivers, already swollen have been unable to cope in many areas, flooding roads, railway lines, homes and businesses.

CAUSE OF THE DISRUPTION
VIDEO explanation: Why so stormy?
Source – BBC Weather (24 Dec 2013)
For guidance on how to read synoptic charts like this one above – click here

The Met Office at Boscombe Down, Salisbury Plain, recorded 66.7 mm of rain in the 24 hours from 9 am on the 23 December to 9 am on the 24 December. This is new all time daily record (provisional) in any month for the station – since records began in January 1931.

A Low pressure record breaker:
In Stornoway, in NW Scotland. a pressure reading of 936.4mb was recorded at 12:30 pm on 24th December 2013. This is the lowest recorded anywhere in the UK since December 1886!

Depression – a low pressure weather system
Explainer from the Met Office here:

An additional simplified explanation of the differences between high and low pressure can be found here

EFFECT ON DIFFERENT GROUPS OF PEOPLE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Strong winds, floods and fallen trees have been causing chaos for travellers trying to get away for Christmas.
Many major roads were flooded or blocked by fallen trees, with Kent, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussexand Cornwallamong the affected counties.
In Dorset, 30 people trapped in cars by flood water were rescued by fire crews.
In Devon and Cornwall, several properties were flooded, while some homes are without power
In Newton Abbot, Devon, a man died after jumping into the River Lemon to rescue his dog. 
More than 6,000 homes without power in East Anglia, hundreds with no power in Somerset, and 50,000 homes in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight were cut off.
A man was taken to  hospital after being trapped under a fallen tree in St Martin, in Jersey.
The London Fire Brigade says it received five times the usual number of emergency 999 calls – 853 in total – on Monday night.
The severe weather caused disruption at some airports. At Gatwick, a power cut at the north terminal left several thousand passengers stranded, with delays and 26 flights cancelled.
Network Rail reported that the damage caused by the severe weather was “even more extensive” than that inflicted by St Jude’s storm in October.
As of Tuesday evening, five people had died as a result of poor conditions on the roads or after entering fast-flowing rivers. 
The Environment Agency had almost 370 flood warnings and alerts in force on 24 December.

Source – Environment Agency

Fire crews rescued one adult and three children from a car stuck in floodwater on the A303 in Podimore, near Yeovil, Somerset. Two fire appliances and the rescue tender as well as a specialist rescue team led them to safety using an inflatable powered boat and dry suits. 
Train passengers in Taunton, Somerset, were stranded all night on board their train after the track they were travelling on flooded.
Closer to home: Police in Wiltshire said nine roads had been closed due to flooding, including the A365 near Shurnhold, Melksham, where a number of vehicles were stuck.
Wiltshire Fire and Rescue said about 12 properties, including shops in the Bath Road area of Bradford-on-Avon, had been affected by flooding and they had closed the town centre bridge – the main route through the town.

Bradford on Avon – 24 December 2013

Chippenham – via Twitter
(unable to find original photo for acknowledgement)

View of the River Avon – Chippenham via @southers81 on Twitter

View across fields near Monkton Park – Chippenham via @adamczuk on Twitter

25 December 2013

About 50,000 homes in southern and eastern England were without power following the huge storms which hit the UKon Monday and Tuesday.

The River Mole in Surrey burst its banks in several areas and an Environment Agency severe flood warning – which means a danger to life – was issued for Leatherhead.

Sainsburys in Tonbridge – Kent

The scene in Guildford as the River Wey flooded

Flooding on the River Medway in Kent

26 December 2013

The Environment Agency and the Met Office have warned of further significant rainfall and flooding in parts of southern Englandwith heavy rain and high winds forecast across the UK on Thursday evening and into Friday morning.
Source – Met Office
Many rivers are still swollen after the storms and ground saturated which led to power cuts and travel delays causing concern that any additional rain will lead to more significant flooding. 
About 1,000 homes in south-east and south-west England have been flooded.

Some 13,000 properties still have no power and engineers say some may not be reconnected until the end of the week.
The Met Office said widespread gales were likely to develop late during Thursday night or in the early hours of Friday morning bringing gusts of more than 50 mph inland and of 70 mph to 80 mph to some coastal areas and high ground.
Pressure chart for 26 December 2013
Source – BBC Weather

Pressure chart for 27 December 2013
Source – BBC Weather

On Thursday morning, the Environment Agency had 83 flood warnings in place,  these were in the south-east (37), south-west (16), and the Midlands(18).

Source – The Environment Agency (26 December 2013)

26 January 2014

Although the floods receded in many areas of the south-west, for some the impacts continued. Read more about the floods on the Somerset levels which continued into 2014 here

Sources:
BBC News; BBC Weather; Daily Mail; Wiltshire Times; Twitter; The Environment Agency; Channel 4 News; AJEnglish; ITV News; Sky News; The Guardian; The Met Office; theweatheroutlook


East Coast flooding in UK – December 2013

5 December 2013

Following a major storm surge – the worst since 1953, 1,400 homes have been flooded whilst thousands of people were forced to leave their homes.

Background – What happened in 1953?
VIDEO – Floods of 1953: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21272289
Exceptional weather conditions, coupled with an inability to warn people, meant that whole communities were unaware of the imminent threat from the devastating storm surge that saw many low lying areas of East Anglia and the Thames Estuary suffer severe flooding.

Met Office guide to 1953 east coast flood
Source: metoffice.gov.uk

What has been the legacy of the 1953 floods? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21258341
Causes in 2013:
What is a storm surge and how is it caused?
The Atlantic storm, which brought the coastal flooding and gale-force winds of up to 100mph, caused widespread disruption across the UK and claimed the lives of two men – in West Lothian, Scotland, and in Retford, Nottinghamshire.

The Environment Agency said 800,000 homes in England had been protected by flood defences and better forecasting had given people “vital time” to prepare.
The agency said sea levels had peaked at 5.8m (19ft) in Hull – the highest seen by the East Yorkshire city since 1953 – and 4.7m (15ft) in Dover, Kent, the highest recorded there in more than 100 years.


Preparing for the 2013 storm surge:
How the barrier works:  http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/38359.aspx

This graphic from the Environment Agency shows the extent of the flooding that would have occurred in London if the flood barrier had not been raised.

The Environment Agency estimates that 800,000 homes and businesses were saved due to flood defence schemes.

Impacts of December 2013 floods:
Thousands of people were evacuated from Britain’s east coast of England.
1,400 homes were flooded, including 300 in Boston, Lincolnshire, according to Environment Agency (EA) figures.

Victims of the most serious tidal surge in 60 years have been warned to avoid direct contact with floodwater and beware of rats moving into homes.

More detail and pictures here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2519891/Beware-invasion-flood-rats-Homeowners-hit-tidal-surge-told-avoid-contact-water-amid-fears-pest-invasion.html

VIDEO – Bungalow falls off cliff in Norfolk http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25258149
VIDEO – Thousands evacuated: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25253733
VIDEO – Cleaning up after the floods: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25257754
VIDEO – Aerial footages of flood aftermath: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25260863
Sources: BBC News; The Met Office; BBC Weather; Mail Online; ITN