Winter this year could be wetter than normal – with households being urged to be prepared for the risk of flooding.
Met Office forecasts indicate there is an above-average chance of the next three months having more rain than normal, with January and February holding the worst of the weather.
The Environment Agency is urging people to check their local flood risk online, sign up for warnings and be prepared in case their home is affected.
It comes after a survey by the agency revealed 30 per cent of households in at-risk areas have not taken any steps to prepare for their home flooding.
Flooding in Chigwell after thunderstorms struck London in July
If replicated across England this could mean up to 1.5million homes at risk of flooding are unprepared.
Will Lang, of the Met Office, said: ‘When looking at the big global drivers that impact weather in the UK there are indications this winter could be wetter than normal.’
The Environment Agency estimates 5.2million properties in England are at risk.
The agency said it has 250 mobile pumps and 6,000 trained staff ready to protect communities this winter, while construction and repair of flood defences have also continued throughout the year.
In October, when parts of the country saw a month’s worth of rain in 24 hours, some 79 households were flooded but more than 3,300 properties were protected by flood defences and quick action.
But Caroline Douglass of the Environment Agency warned: ‘Now is the time for us all to be vigilant, not complacent, about flooding.’
It came after it emerged that the Met Office’s winter forecast is at odds with the BBC’s long-term prediction.
DTN, which provides the corporation’s service, predicts cold weather in the months to January, rather than mild.
John Hammond, who co-runs forecasting agency Weathertrending, said: ‘It’s meteorological mayhem with huge disagreement on what happens in the months ahead.’
‘Heartbreaking’: Family home of 34 years is hit by floods amid torrential rain as they enjoyed their post-coronavirus reunion
A family’s home was flooded after heavy rain in London
A woman whose childhood home was flooded during the family’s first get-together in 18 months has described the experience as ‘heartbreaking’ for her parents.
Nicola Thorogood, 33, was at her parents’ house in Walthamstow, east London, along with her two sisters, their partners and all their children when torrential rain hit the area in July.
The family made a frantic attempt to keep the water out of the home they moved into in 1987, but in the end they gave up and put their efforts into trying to save as many belongings as possible.
‘It’s heartbreaking for my parents,’ Ms Thorogood said.
‘It’s just knowing what they’ve put into it – they’re in their mid-60s now, but they’re still working – and they’ve worked so hard all their life to have that house and it’s the thing they’re most proud of and want to pass on to us eventually. It’s that that breaks my heart.’
The house is about a 10-minute walk from Whipps Cross Hospital, which declared a major incident on Sunday.
During the flooding in July, Ms Thorogood’s family were all together for the first time since January 2020 after so-called Freedom Day.
Her older sister left with her children shortly after 3pm as the weather started to worsen, and soon after the rest of the family were using buckets to try to sweep water away from the front step, and build makeshift flood defences using bin bags and soil.
When it became clear they could not stop the water, they instead tried to save as many belongings as they could.
Ms Thorogood said: ‘We took what we could upstairs, obviously anything like sentimental photos and things like that. Then we retreated upstairs to my parents’ room and just watched the rain fall and the flood come in.’
‘My mum was close to tears,’ Ms Thorogood said. ‘She kept saying, ‘nobody’s hurt’ and ‘there’s worse things could happen’ but you could see the pain on her face.
‘My mum’s very house proud – she’s always cleaning and she’s always decorating and she keeps it to a nice standard.’
By Monday morning the water had receded and her parents were beginning to clean up.
‘They stayed because mum just didn’t want to leave,’ Ms Thorogood, who lives in Chingford, said.
‘I spoke to her this morning and she said the water’s gone, but it’s like a warzone, and they don’t know where to start.
‘I’m hoping she’ll come and stay here for a few days… they can’t stay there, at the moment they have no power, they don’t know if it’s safe to put it back on.
‘So it’s just a bit of a waiting game.’
Source: Daily Mail UK