Londoners are being told to prepare for more flooding

The Met Office is warning Londoners to prepare for the risk of flooding as winter approaches, following recent extreme weather.

People are encouraged to plan ahead by checking flood risk online and registering for flood warnings.

It follows a heat wave and floods in the capital this summer, with temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius.

More than 1,500 homes and two hospitals were flooded after heavy rains across the capital in July.

The London Partnership for Climate Change says London is particularly prone to surface water and sewage flooding after heavy rainfall due to the large number of “impervious surfaces” such as roads and pavements and Victorian drainage systems that are not equipped to deal with increased water flows.

During the extreme weather, sewage overflowed manhole covers and toilets in people’s homes and flooded streets in Woodford, Walthamstow and Battersea.

Whipps Cross and Newham hospitals asked patients to stay away after their emergency departments were hit by floods.

“Some lost everything”

Danny Briottet says it took more than a year to repair the damage caused when his Kilburn home was flooded

London flooding was also an issue in 2021.

Danny Briottet’s home in Kilburn, north-west London, was flooded during heavy rain in July 2021 and is still being renovated by builders due to the extent of the damage.

He said flood water rose through a manhole cover inside his home and he was unable to contact emergency services because they were dealing with major incidents across London at the time.

“We had water pouring from the front and the back, the water was coming out of the well, and it came well above my knee and stayed there all afternoon,” he said.

“Our six-year-old was very scared at the time; everything was black and destroyed.”

Mr Briottet and his family had to stay in temporary accommodation for months while his home dried out and insurers processed their claim and arranged repairs.

All wood floors, kitchen, baseboards and wiring had to be replaced.

Mr Briottet said they were lucky to get most of their valuables upstairs, unlike neighbors who had no security or couldn’t move their things quickly.

“It was difficult for some of the older people who just had basement apartments and lost everything – family heirlooms, photographs, medals. It was terrifying for them,” Mr Briottet said.

He added that there is little support for those affected and as far as he knows, no additional measures have been implemented in the neighborhood after the floods.

“Whatever happened that day, if we had that kind of rain again – it’s going to happen again,” he said.

Mr Briottet said the causes of the July 2021 flash floods were still under investigation – local water management issues have been raised as a possible factor.

“Don’t ignore the danger”

Now the Environment Agency is launching Flood Action Week to encourage those in areas at risk of flooding to protect their homes and belongings, especially as the agency’s analysis found that almost two-thirds of households at risk of flooding do not they believe it will happen to them.

Caroline Douglass, executive director for floods at the Environment Agency, said: “Climate change is happening now. We are seeing more extreme weather events – this year alone with three nominal storms in one week, record temperatures and droughts being declared across large parts of the country .

“Our recent investment program is better protecting 314,000 homes from flooding and we’re investing millions to keep communities safe, but we can’t stop all flooding.

“The message is clear – households risk ignoring flood risk at their peril.”

Environment Secretary Rebecca Pow said: “We are committed to continuing our record £5.2 billion investment in flood and coastal defense between 2021 and 2027 to ensure more communities are even better prepared for future floods.”

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