The Environment Agency is advising communities in the South East to stay vigilant and be prepared for possible flooding over the New Year due to the risk of more heavy rain coupled with strong winds.
Forecasts suggest that weather conditions will be unsettled across the region all week and heavy rain is predicted tonight for New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day which could cause flooding from rivers and surface water.
If there is widespread and heavy rain tonight and tomorrow (December 31/January 1) it will fall onto catchments that are already saturated following the recent rainfall across the region, which may cause river levels to respond, as well as further flooding of low-lying land and roads.
There is one Flood Warning and 48 Flood Alerts in force across the South East region. Throughout the festive holiday period Environment Agency staff have been closely monitoring the situation and been out in force each day checking flood defences, clearing trash screens and supporting flooded communities.
Julia Simpson of the Environment Agency said: “Over the New Year celebrations heavy rain is forecast which could cause flooding to communities in the south east. We expect that rivers will respond to rainfall that is predicted overnight and into tomorrow.
“We are monitoring the situation very closely as river levels across the South East remain high and responsive, and standing water remains in some flood plains.
“Environment Agency teams have been on the ground around the clock operating pumping stations, issuing flood warnings and checking that flood banks, walls and barriers are working effectively.
“We urge communities to prepare in advance by signing up for free flood warnings and to take action if they receive one. A flood warning indicates that flooding is expected and immediate action is required.
“Advice on what to do before, during and after flooding is available on the Environment Agency website or by calling Floodline on 0845 9881188. People travelling this week are also reminded to check the latest flood updates ahead of making journeys and should not drive through dangerous floodwater.”
To date, there have been 1,300 properties flooded across England.
Environment Agency flood defences have protected more than 80,000 properties from flooding.
The Environment Agency is working closely with the Met Office, continuously monitoring river levels and up-to-date information will be available on the Environment Agency website throughout the New Year period.
The Environment Agency provides a 24-hour flood warning service. Floodline Warnings Direct is a free service that gives advance warning of flooding by telephone, mobile, fax or pager.
To register for the service or for advice on things you can do to limit the damage to your property call Floodline on 0845 988 1188, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Further advice and latest information on flood warnings is also available at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood.
Over five million people in England and Wales are at risk from flooding from rivers and the sea.
Those in flood risk areas should sign up to the Environment Agency’s free flood warning system – the most immediate and localised source of information on flooding – by calling 0845 988 1188 or visiting www.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood.
The Environment Agency will continue to support local authorities, who will respond to reports of surface water flooding.