The government eventually succumbed to pressure from communities effected by January and February storms and in the recent Budget increased the flood defence funding from £4Bn to £5.2Bn over the period 2021 to 2026.
The Met Office declared February 2020 as the wettest since records began in 1862 with the UK average rainfall exceeding 200mm or 237% of average for February. In areas such as the north and west of the UK with the most severe flooding problems this percentage rose to 350-400% !
Locally February closed with storm Jorge on 28/29th. Why storm Jorge, as storm Ellen was the next in the Met Office named storms after Dennis? As the storm approached the UK from southern Europe the Spanish Met Office designated name was adopted.
Our local rainfall for the month reached 230% of a February average and although the river flooded on 16.02.20 and peaked again on 28/29th it has subsequently remained low. This has been helped by less rainfall to date in March and a welcome rise in temperature allowing the ground to become less saturated-all good news for gardeners. Generally the River Nene has coped well largely due to the work undertaken by the E/A in 2017/2018.
Disappointingly the E/A has failed to meet the target date of August 2019 to resubmit costed plans for further funding for additional flood defence work in the Village. Let’s hope the distraction of staff to support seriously flooded areas does not reduce Nether Heyford’s priority status.
Whilst our local flooding risk is comparatively low we must remain vigilant. Besides local and National weather news forecasts a reminder of the on-line access to real time data for rainfall and river levels is listed below:-
(A) Shoothill GaugeMap: www.gaugemap.co.uk
(B) River and sea levels Flood information service for England from Gov.uk
(C) Northamptonshire County Council: www.floodtoolkit.com
Finally don’t forget to register with the Environment Agency flood warning service on Floodline 03459 881188 to receive telephone and advanced flood warnings for the area.
The overriding message is “BE PREPARED”.