We tend to associate the summer months with warm weather and blue skies; a time for trips to the coast and living outside as much as possible.
Unfortunately though, summer in the UK can be rather damp, and whether this dampness is prolonged or it follows an unusually dry spell, floods often occur as a result. Unlike the floods expected after a bout of wintry weather and big springtime thaws though, summer flooding happens so fast…
Yes, Sandy and Danny may have had their Summer Nights, but there’s nothing romantic about a summer flood. Even less romantic is the threat of flash floods.
Read on to find out more about flash floods and why they are such a risk to certain parts of the UK come summer.
What is a flash flood?
Unlike a river flood, which, in comparison, builds gradually before the banks burst, flash floods happen quickly. The speed and potential ferocity of flash floods are what makes them all the more devastating.
Flash floods occur when large volumes of water cover an area unexpectedly, and with speed. This can be a result of heavy rainfall, saturated soil, high river levels and other such contributory factors.
According to Eden TV, five million people in the UK are vulnerable to flooding every year. This is a problem for businesses and residents who are caught in the worst affected areas but earning the title “worst affected” doesn’t take much. In fact, a car will wash away in just two feet of water, and a person will be swept off their feet by just six inches.
Why are flash floods such a risk?
The worst thing about a flash flood is the nature of its arrival.
Whereas a river will normally burst its banks with a bit of warning, as the water levels get higher and higher, a flash flood is very much a case of “now you see it, now you don’t” in reverse.
This instantaneous effect means you lose valuable time in terms of preparation and prevention. If you are lucky, you will have just enough time to lift valuables to higher levels and unplug electrics. You might even be able to lay a few sandbags. More often than not though, a flash flood will hit quickly and leave you with a ruined property and many lost belongings, hitting you hard both financially and sentimentally.
In addition, depending on the severity of the flash flood, health and safety can become an issue. Even if people aren’t physically knocked down by the water, they still need to be mindful of risks like bacteria and sewage present in the floodwater, or electrical works becoming wet.
How to deal with a flash flood
The priority is to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. Get out of the water’s path, and if possible, get to dry higher ground, whether that is upstairs at home or up the road from your business property.
If you have time to disconnect the electricity and move valuable items and important documents to safety, do so. Just make sure you don’t spend too much time in the floodwater and seek the help of emergency services if you are unsure or in danger.
Whatever damage is caused to your property can be dealt with in the aftermath. Trying to minimize damage after a flash flood has already occurred is an uphill battle. Just keep yourself safe, rescue the belongings you can, and enlist the help of professional flood restoration companies to get your property back to a safe, secure and comfortable condition. Discover our fire and flood services here today.
Last summer, The Guardian reported that summer flash floods were likely to become more and more common in the UK. So now is the right time to start preparing, as a home and/or business owner, should the worst happen. Preparation, preventative measures and post-flood remedial work will help make an unpleasant and unavoidable incident more manageable.