Flood Watch – December 2020

Flood Watch

Wet, wet, wet describes October’s weather with storm Alex at the beginning of the month and storm Aiden in the closing days of October into the start of November. Although October is normally the wettest month in a year this year has been exceptional with nearly double the normal average,even exceeding the February high. Strong winds from Atlantic lows resulted in unsettled weather patterns with local wind speeds of 30 mph whilst areas of the UK experienced 70 mph,heavy rainfall and flooding. The remainder of November will see daytime temperatures around 10 degrees centigrade with a small risk of overnight frost. With daylight hours continuing to fall, currently at 8 ¾ hours,changing at 2 minutes per day this will continue until 21st December, the official start of winter when daylight hours will start to increase. As winter is characterised by periods of stormy weather the next UK named storms will be Bella, then Christoph, alternating names being male then female.

The anticipated blue moon at Halloween was obscured by night clouds although the moon rise in the east formed an impressive sight as the Nene Valley was flooded with bright moonlight, circa 5.30 pm.

With saturated ground conditions the river levels respond rapidly to new rainfall and more rapid run-off. This is a reminder to assess your own potential flood risk both from the river, brook or flash flooding and poor surface water drainage. In my own case the Easter 98 floods initiated an assessment of my own property risk resulting in a three tier system of protection. Tier 1 resulted in the creation of a relatively water tight enclosure across the full width of the property by removing gateways in a low level wall to create a single entry/exit point which is permanently protected by a flood barrier permanently fitted. This comprised a timber structure with glued joints using copper pipe lagging to form a compressible seal. In the event of leakage a submersible pump can be employed to remove unwanted water. As the garden has tiered levels a second wall can be similarly protected should the need arise. In the unlikely event that flood water reached the house the vulnerable entry points above dpc level, such as door openings or patio doors can be similarly protected. In the latter case the flood guards can use polythene sheet applied across the opening before installing the guard. A guard was produced for each opening and the wall predrilled and plugged in readiness for a rapid response should the need ever arise. To protect brickwork and provide a waterproof seal the area of walling 18 inches above ground level was treated with a clear silicon sealant.

Since 1998 only tier 1 and the use of the pump on one occasion has needed to be employed, maintaining leakage levels below 1 inch! These precautions may seem excessive but with increasing risk from climate change I feel well prepared.

J.Arnold

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