Scientists have predicted ‘flooding from intense summer rainfall’ is going to happen more frequently in the UK, after flash floods in the capital caused major disruption to public services yesterday (July 25).
London was hit with serious flooding after a deluge of rain fell yesterday impacting homes, streets, stations and hospitals across the capital.
Major incidents were declared at two east London hospitals with around 100 patients being evacuated from Whipps Cross Hospital.
The London Fire Brigade also took more than 1,000 flood-related calls following the deluge of rain.
READ MORE: Live updates after torrential rain forces Londoners out of their homes with more thunderstorms forecast
Firefighters dealt with major disruptions as a result of the heavy rainfall and rescued people trapped in their cars, and dealt with collapsed ceilings and flooded basements.
The aftermath of the flooding down Queenstown Road, Battersea
(Image: James Mayer)
Scientists from the University of Reading spoke to My London about the impact of the flooding and why this is likely to be a more common occurrence in the UK.
Dr Jess Neumann, hydrologist from the University of Reading, said: “Summer thunderstorms are not a new occurrence, but it is becoming ever clearer that the worsening impacts of flooding from intense rainfall are having devastating effects here in the UK and around the world.
“The floods we are seeing across London and recently in Europe are a stark warning that we are not prepared to deal with climate change.”
Parts of western Europe have been severely impacted by flooding in the past two weeks, including areas in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. This has led more than 200 deaths with hundreds more reported missing.
A man walks through flood water in Horse Guards Road in central London
(Image: PA Wire/PA Images)
Dr Neumann said: “Flooding from intense summer rainfall is going to happen more frequently.
“No city, town or village is immune to flooding and we all need to take hard action right now if we are to prevent impacts from getting worse in the future.
“There needs to be a complete shift away from all use of fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.
She added: “Planning and development need to consider flood risk from all sources (river, groundwater and flash floods) and adapt accordingly – it is not acceptable to keep paving over the land and expect the public to deal with the water when it comes into their homes.”
Professor Richard Allan, climate scientist at the University of Reading, said the flooding seen in the capital is ‘exactly the kind of results we expect as the climate heats up’.
“Summer thunderstorms are not unusual, but the intensity of the rainfall and the resulting flash floods are exactly the kind of results we expect as the climate heats up due to a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” he said.
“Warmer air carries more moisture, so a hotter and more energetic atmosphere will bring more damaging storms.”
Yesterday’s flooding has been the second 40mm rainfall event in London this month.
Pudding Mill station has been submerged by flood water
(Image: Rob Day)
St James’s Park recorded 41.6mm (1.6in) of rain on Sunday, making it the wettest part of the country.
On July 13, several areas of west and south London were swarmed by flash floods which ruined houses and destroyed businesses.
The Met Office has issued further warnings over rain and thunderstorms across England and Scotland over the next four days (26-29 July).
A yellow warning has been issued for parts of Kent and Sussex today (July 26).
Roads were heavily flooded in Walthamstow
(Image: Twitter: @philaspery)
Hydrologist Dr Jess Neumann offered advice for those in impacted areas, urging them to ‘prepare a flood kit’ and check flood warnings.
“Flash floods can rise quickly with devastating consequences – if you’re a community at risk, it’s important to remain alert and heed flood warnings,” Dr Jess said.
“If you can, check in on your neighbours, prepare a flood kit, move valuables out of harm’s way and familiarise yourself with how to turn off the electricity supply to your property.”
A car drives through flood water on Sunday July 25
(Image: PA Wire/PA Images)
The London Fire Brigade also issued advice for affected communities urging them to ‘use sandbags to limit water flow’ and to ‘avoid walking through flood waters’.
A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “It’s really important to know what to do if you experience flooding and stay alert to flood warnings in your area. If flooding is expected, prepare a flood kit or grab bag, use sandbags to limit water flow and if possible, move belongings to a higher level. Make sure you also look out for your neighbours, especially if they are vulnerable.
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“If your property does flood, avoid walking through flood waters. Just six inches of fast flowing water can knock over an adult. We have seen videos surfacing online of people playing in flood water, which can be dangerous, not only because you could hurt yourself on hidden obstacles, but also because flood water can be contaminated or polluted, making it hazardous.
“Vehicles can also quickly become unstable in moving water, so don’t drive into flooded water. If your car becomes caught in water, unbuckle your seatbelts and where possible, climb out to safety and call for help. If you’re trapped inside, turn on all the lights, shout and sound your horn for help.”
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