Hampshire prepares for coastal flooding risk
Thursday 2 January 2014
As heavy rain and high winds are set to batter Southern England overnight tonight (Thursday 2 January) and into the weekend, Hampshire County Council is once again ready to keep the county moving.
This prolonged bad weather comes as the clear up operation continues following the Christmas and New Year's Day storms.
The County Council has increased the number of highways emergency crews with tankers and jetters ready to deal with water on the roads and blocked gullies. Extra arboriculture teams with chainsaws are also on standby in the event of trees coming down.
With Amber warnings in place for coastal flooding, forecasters are predicting more rain tonight and up to 30mm to have fallen by the end of tomorrow, (Friday 3 January). Friday will also see strong to gale force winds with gusts of 45-55mph inland, but possibly up to 60-65mph along the coast.
The gale force winds, low pressure and high spring tides are likely to lead to some coastal flooding issues, with the threat at its highest between 11.15am and 12.15 pm tomorrow. Residents are being advised only to travel if necessary but if they do have to travel on the roads, to take extra care as flooding is expected.
Flood alerts have been issued across all coastal areas of Hampshire and this is likely to trigger nine flood warnings.
Road flooding is expected in areas including:
- Beaulieu (B3054)
- Hamble Estuary
- Emsworth (South Street, A259, Ship Inn)
- Marchwood (Magazine Lane)
- Eling (Tide Mill, Downs Park Crescent)
Due to a combination of strong winds, large waves and high tides, coastal paths and promenades could also be highly dangerous as there is an increased risk of being swept out to sea. People are warned to stay away from the shoreline.
Further heavy rain is also expected on Sunday afternoon and evening, and strong to gale force winds will again accompany the rain on Sunday. The Met Office has issued a Yellow Rain Alert to cover Sunday's rain. The heavy rain and strong winds may once again lead to some flooding issues as well as disruption to power and transport as trees are damaged or come down.
Hampshire County Council will work with the emergency services and the Environment Agency to make sure collaborative resources are deployed in the best way to try to protect Hampshire communities.
Priority has had to be given to fixing problems on the main routes. While some minor roads are still affected, teams are aware of issues on these routes and will attend to them as soon as resources permit. With such large numbers of incidents it may take some weeks to clear up and the Council is asking people to bear with them during this extremely busy period.
Highways teams have been working round the clock to help residents during the difficult weather conditions.
One resident from Totton was grateful for the Council's help with unblocking a drain that had lead to flooding. He said: "The team turned up at 2am on Sunday 22nd December to unblock the drain in the road and never have we been so pleased to be woken up so early in the morning!"
Councillor Seán Woodward, Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment at Hampshire County Council, said: "Since before Christmas our teams have been working flat out to keep Hampshire moving, and I would echo residents' thanks to those highways teams who have been working around the clock."
"It is anticipated that our maintenance teams are likely to be very stretched and it will be necessary to prioritise locations. I would ask people to bear with us while we do all we can to clear roads and incidents of flooding quickly."
"I would ask everyone to take particular care if they are travelling. Sudden, very heavy downpours can lead to roads and pavements flooding quickly. Please heed any warning signs that are placed on the highway. Do not attempt to drive through or walk through fords, and be extra careful driving through any road surface water as it may be difficult to judge its depth."
The County Council's Emergency Planning Team is also prepared and on standby, to support the emergency services and to assist those who need help with emergency situations that may arise as a consequence of the heavy rainfall.
Residents are being asked to keep their gullies and drains cleared of fallen leaves and debris in an effort to reduce surface water flooding and the risk of flooding.
If anyone sees flooding near electricity substations in residential areas they are asked to report it to Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) on 0800 072 72 82.
Advice on flooding can be found at www.hants.gov.uk/flooding and flood warnings can be found on the Environment Agency website www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods
People can also call Floodline on 0845 988 1188.
If anyone has concerns about any older or vulnerable people in their community during times of adverse weather, they should call: 0845 603 5630 or out of hours 0845 600 4555. Hampshire residents are asked to be good neighbours and check on anybody elderly or who may be vulnerable during this time.
With the succession of storms and the continued wet weather, ground water levels are rising. Surface water is also a problem on roads that are already damaged from last year's wet autumn, and cold winter and spring. The County Council is warning that this will cause more damage to parts of the highway, and residents are being encouraged to report any potholes online or call 0845 603 5633.
Highways teams will continue to be busy responding to weather related incidents and the public are encouraged to report road problems online at www.hants.gov.uk/roadproblems or call 0845 603 5633. In an emergency the public should dial 999.
Tune in to BBC Radio Solent and other local radio stations for traffic reports. Advice on driving in winter conditions also be found at: http://www.rospa.com/roadsafety/adviceandinformation/driving/winter-driving-tips.aspx#g
Residents in flood prone areas are advised to follow the Environment Agency’s flood warning advice, which is:
- Prepare a Flood Kit – warm clothes, torch with batteries, battery powered radio, food, water, mobile phone + charger, first aid kit, important personal documents such as passports, bankcards and insurance details; medication and baby food if needed. Keep it upstairs
- Make a list of useful numbers such as the emergency services, Floodline, insurance company and policy details.
- Talk about what you would do in the event of flooding with other family members / housemates
- Know where to turn off the gas, water and electricity supply. Ensure you switch it off if you evacuate your property.
- Move people, pets, valuable items and if possible - electrical appliances upstairs or in a high place downstairs
- Any furniture that you can not move upstairs try and raise off the floor
- Think about moving your car to higher ground
- Block doorways, air bricks and cellar vents with bricks or sandbags
- Alert neighbours and assist the elderly, infirm and those with small children
- Avoid walking and driving through floodwater as there could be hidden hazards
- If you have any health worries call NHS Direct on 111 or see www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk
- Call 0800 80 70 60 to report flooding to the Environment Agency
- Refer to Environment Agency Publication “ What to do Before, During and After a Flood”