Post Autumn Equinox saw major changes in the weather with the final days of September seeing temperatures falling well below a normal monthly average and an increase in rainfall. Overall September had a two week period with no rain but with the above changes resulted in a final monthly rainfall of 35% of normal. However October brought major changes with storm Alex (European name) and heavy rainfall on the 3rd, the wettest October daily level since 1891, well over 30mm. As a result, when combined with additional rainfall on the following days the River rose by 1.6m and areas of the floodplain were submerged on the 5th. Within 24 hours all flood water had receded. Overall October has been a very wet month and with further rain forecast for the remaining days the monthly total is expected to end up about 150% of average.
The month has been full of planetary and lunar activity with Mars appearing at its largest on 6th when the planet was closest to the Earth and later on the 13th when the planet was at its brightest, an event repeated every 15 years. Unfortunately on both occasions overcast skies at sunset blocked any visible sightings. Fortunately the night‘s sky between the hours of 2 am and 5 am cleared and Mars was clearly visible as it traversed from the SE to SW. October also had two full moons, a Harvest Moon on 1st and a Hunter blue Moon on 31st, Halloween.
An E-Mail was received from the E/A in which it was clear that little progress had been made over the last year. However, following my comments regarding the criteria for Grant-Aid funding to protect properties, currently based on properties actually being flooded and their role to prevent flooding, a revised set of criteria has been defined by Defra in February 2020. This will now be taken into account during the economical assessment and relates to the impact of flooding on the individual’s well-being. In particular the areas of concern are namely:-
● lack of warning
● whether flooding events were in day time or night time
● duration of flooding
● extent of flooding
● speed and depth of flood water
● repeat of flood events
● potential cost impacts
● what the impact of climate change will be on future flooding
Although research on the impact on the individual or household is limited it is now at least recognised that these have a profound impact on PTSD symptoms and that a high score rating should be applied. Throughout the document comments were made relating to the serious limitations of flood risk maps and their use in predicting the extent of such events. At least these criteria can now be applied to any revised assessments for village flood defences.