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Preparing for extreme weather and flooding

Recent flood events across the country have highlighted how beneficial it is to plan for the chance of extreme weather emergencies, as they are unpredictable and can be highly damaging. Serious flooding has occurred across England during recent weeks in areas including Greater Manchester, Yorkshire and Cornwall, with Lincolnshire also affected a few months ago.

Heavy rainfall and thunderstorms caused flash flooding incidents as rivers, watercourses and drainage networks were overwhelmed by the volume of water. This resulted in the flooding of many properties, and damage to infrastructure. In North Yorkshire there was heavy rain, around 82.2mm in 24 hours in some areas, which caused around 100 homes to flood, part of a road to be washed away, and the collapse of a bridge. In Poynton, nearly a month’s worth of rain fell in just 24 hours, flooding numerous homes and businesses.

There were many other serious impacts of this extreme weather…

  • Landslips and flooding of railway lines.
  • A reservoir partially collapsed in Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire, which caused the evacuation of the town for 7 days.
  • Various events and festivals had to be cancelled, such as Boardmasters festival in Cornwall.
  • Hailstones the size of pickled onions caused damage to buildings and injuries to some individuals.


Why does flash flooding happen?

Flash flooding usually happens after short intense bursts of rainfall, but it also depends on various conditions at the time, including location, built environment, drainage, ground conditions and the layout of the land. These conditions may affect the ground so that it cannot absorb the large volume of rainwater and drain it away fast enough.

To find out more, click here to download the Flood Hub’s ‘Flash Flooding’ resource.


How can you prepare?

It’s hard to prepare for flooding in the immediate days or weeks before it happens, as extreme events such as these can’t always be accurately forecast, and you can’t predict just how well our drainage systems and land conditions will deal with the amount of water hitting the ground. Therefore, planning and preparing for flooding as soon as you can means that you will be that bit more prepared for any possible future flooding that could occur at any time.


Preparing for severe weather and flooding:

  • Sign up to flood warnings and keep an eye on weather conditions.
  • Plan ahead for journeys – think about whether you really need to make the trip, or plan alternative routes.
  • Find out who is responsible for managing the different types of flood risk where you live, and who to report flooding to.


Longer term flood planning:

  • Create a flood plan so you can stay calm and follow a plan of action.
  • Consider what property flood resilience (PFR) measures you can add to your property to make it more resilient to possible future flooding.
  • Make sure you have flood insurance.
  • Think about working together as a community to increase resilience to emergencies – download a helpful resource here.


Toolkits to help you:



For anyone affected by recent flooding, you can download a flood recovery guide from The Flood Hub here.


Visit for further information and advice on flooding.


Sources: BBC, Independent