FLOODING -BE PREPARED!
Although the damage and destruction from flood water is, on the whole, the same, flooding can occur from a variety of sources:
The East Coast of the UK is vulnerable to a phenomenon called a North Sea Tidal Surge. This type of event is most likely to occur between September and April, but requires very specific conditions, strong north to northeasterly winds over a period of days, combining with spring tides, (the highest high tides). Spring tides are predicted years in advance and with the technological advances in weather forecasting and prediction the Met Office and Environment Agency can identify the likelihood of a North Sea Tidal Surge, several days in advance with a high degree of confidence. As the Tendring District is bounded on 3 sides by coastal or tidal waters (Rivers Stour to the north and Colne to the west), it is vitally important that our coastal communities are aware of the need to be prepared should such an event occur.
The last North Sea tidal surge to affect the East Coast occurred in November 2007, resulting in the evacuation of Great Yarmouth.
NEVER stand on flood defences to watch waves breaking - you may get swept away.
Fluvial Flooding or River Flooding
The risk to Tendring District communities from this type of flooding is not as great as that of coastal flooding. However if you live near any type of water course, river, brook, stream or even a natural pond or spring you should check with the Environment Agency to see if your house is at risk of flooding. As this type of flooding is normally a result of heavy rainfall or melting snow, flood warnings are issued with a shorter lead time to the predicted flood, as basically the rain has or is in the process of falling. .
Pluvial or Surface Water Flooding
This is the hardest type of flooding to predict. It is entirely dependant on the quantity of rain falling over a period of time and whether the ground is able to cope with the “run off”. Poor drainage, or just over capacity rainfall may lead to this type of flooding. If you have a large amount of impermeable surfaces (concrete, patio slabs) surrounding your home, with inadequate drainage to take the “surface water” away from your property you may experience this type of flooding. In some cases “local knowledge” is the best indicator as to whether certain areas are at risk from surface water flooding. The Met Office and Environment Agency are working together to improve their ability to issue flood warnings for surface water flooding.
Flooding from within!
On some occasions no matter what you have done to protect the outside of your home, you may experience flooding from within, via your toilet or sink drains. This type of flooding maybe caused by a lack of capacity of the sewer system during heavy rainfall. However the majority of these instances are caused by a blockage in the sewer system. If there has not been any heavy rainfall you should contact Anglian Water.
Please be considerate - reduce your speed and check on your neighbours
In February 2009 some properties in the Tendring district were flooded as a result of traffic driving through flood water at speed, causing a wave to wash over the kerb and run into the adjacent houses. If you have to drive through flood water, reduce your speed.
If you have elderly or infirm neighbours, and are in a position to do so, please pop round to see if there is anything they need or if any help is required.
Tendring District Council's Emergency Planning Officer works closely with all the afore mentioned organisations to try and ensure the community of Tendring receives appropriate and timely warnings for all aspects of flooding and flood related matters.
There are some key things to do when preparing for flooding:
Step 1 - Find out if your property is at risk of flooding
Visit the Environment Agency website and enter your postcode or phone the Environment Agency on Floodline Warning Direct 0845 988 1188, or Typetalk 0845 602 6340.
If your property is at risk from flooding visit the Environment Agency's website about Preparing for a flood
Step 2 - Register with Floodline Warning Direct.
This is a free service and you can nominate how to receive the flood warnings: your home telephone, your mobile phone, via SMS text alert
Step 3 - Develop your Home Emergency Flood Plan
Step 4 - Put together a simple Emergency Grab Bag
This should contain things like: first aid kit, copies of important documentation, warm dry clothes, rubber gloves, bottled water, wind-up or battery operated radio and torch, spare batteries if required.
Step 5 - Understand the flood warning codes
And know what you are going to do on receipt of each level of warning.
To warn people of the possibility of flooding and encourage them to start making simple / low impact preparations for flooding
What to do:
- Be prepared to act on your flood plan
- Prepare a / check your flood kit of essential items
- Monitor local water levels and flood forecast on the Environment Agency’s website
To warn people of expected flooding and prompt them to take action to protect themselves and their property.
What to do:
- Move family, pets and valuables to a safe place
- Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies if safe to do so.
- Put flood protection equipment in place.
To warn people of significant risk to life or significant disruption to the community
What to do:
- Stay in a safe place with a means of escape
- Be ready should you need to evacuate from your home
- Co-operate with the Emergency Services
- Call 999 if you are in IMMEDIATE danger
“No longer in force”
This is not a Flood Warning code, but refers to the message that is issued to customers when a Flood Alert is no longer in force.
To inform customers that the threat of flooding has passed and no more flooding is expected.
To remove the Flood Alert/ Warning/ Severe Flood Warning in force.
What to do:
- Be careful. Floodwater may still be around for several days
- If you’ve been flooded, ring your insurance company as soon as possible.
Step 6 - Consider what appropriate measures you can take to minimise the risk of flooding of your property long before any flood warnings are issued:
- Purchase of air brick covers, floodboards or gates, strap down domestic oil storage tanks.
- Understand your local authority's policy regarding the issue of Sandbags .
Step 7 - Follow advice given by the emergency services and local authority, especially if you are advised to evacuate.
Do not walk through flood water, six inches of moving water can knock off your feet or you may get caught on hidden obstacles. Don't attempt to drive through flood water. Remember ALL flood water is contaminated, and may be polluted by sewage, hydrocarbons from flooded vehicles and dislodged domestic oil storage tanks.
Step 8 - Call your insurance company's Emergency Help Line as soon as possible.
Open doors and windows to ventilate your property. Take care to ensure your property and valuables are secure. Contact your gas, electric and water suppliers to have your supplies checked before you turn them back on. Wash taps thoroughly and run them for a few minutes before using them. Throw away any food which may have come into contact with flood water, it may be contaminated. Contact your local authority Environmental Services for advice. BEWARE of bogus traders, always check references and, if possible, get recommendations, contact your local authority Trading Standards department for advice.