As the Environment Agency continues to take action around the clock to reduce flood risk across the South East, communities are being warned to expect more flooding as further heavy rainfall is forecast over the next few days across the region.
With more widespread heavy rain expected across the South East throughout the rest of the week, coupled with strong winds and adverse weather conditions, communities are urged to remain vigilant to the threat of flooding.
Nearly 600 properties have been reported flooded across the South East, and we expect that number to rise as more properties are confirmed as flooded.
Environment Agency staff continue to work tirelessly around the clock alongside other agencies, emergency responders and volunteers to help communities deal with, and protect themselves against, flooding.
Environment Agency teams, Flood Ambassadors and Flood Data Recorders are out in the Windsor, Datchet, Egham Hythe, Staines and Chertsey areas as well as out in force at Shiplake and Marlow.
In Wraysbury the multi-agency sandbagging operation continues and Environment Agency officers remain in the area to support the community.
The Jubilee River flood alleviation scheme continues to be in operation to help reduce risk to communities along the Thames including Maidenhead, Windsor, Eton and Cookham.
Pumps at Purley-on-Thames have been deployed to protect properties in Wintringham Way and Chesnut Grove and these are being maintained and checked 24/7.
In Oxford, Environment Agency officers continue to have temporary defences deployed at Osney Island and Vicarage Lane and have pumps operating in Duke Street, Earl Street and Osney Yard.
A large 206,000m2 artificial pond has been created to contain flood waters and help Winchester cope with the exceptional quantities of water flowing down the River Itchen into the Hampshire city. The multi-agency effort used 60 one-tonne sandbags to create the large retaining pond and to divert flood water from the river into this new storage area.
Temporary defences have been erected in Kenley, Croydon to protect the water treatment works and the temporary defences at Guildford and Cookham remain in place. Sandbag walls have been also been constructed to reduce flood risk at Bridge, Barham, Littlebourne and Wickhambreaux in Kent.
All this work is in addition to Environment Agency teams continuing to operate pumping stations and be on hand to deploy further pumps as needed, issue Flood Warnings, warn and inform communities and check that flood banks, walls, and barriers are all working effectively. This vital work will continue 24/7 across the South East for as long as necessary.
The Environment Agency remains centrally involved in a number of Strategic Co-ordinating Group Gold commands to help coordinate a multi-agency approach to reduce the risk to affected communities.
The Thames Barrier continues to close to prevent the incoming tide from restricting the current high rainfall flow from draining to the sea. This will assist in lowering river levels in some areas to the west of London. The Thames Barrier will continue to operate whilst there is a benefit to flood risk management.
Further groundwater flooding is expected in the coming days in Hampshire, Surrey, Kent and parts of London. Local authorities will work with utility companies to respond to these incidents.
Howard Davidson, Environment Agency Regional Director, said: “With further heavy rain forecast this week bringing with it the high risk of further flooding across the South East, my sincere sympathy goes out to those who have already suffered the dreadful experience of being flooded.
“With further rain expected in the coming days, after the wettest January on record in England, the situation is likely to get worse before it gets better. All this week severe and unsettled weather will continue to threaten communities. Further heavy rain will see a response in rivers, with further severe flooding expected along the Thames in Berkshire and Surrey.
“Our teams remain out in all conditions working around the clock day and night to protect lives, homes, businesses, communities and farmland across the region. We urge people to stay safe and not to walk or drive through flood water which can be dangerous and to take care near coastal paths and promenades for fear of being swept away.
“This is already the wettest January England has experienced since 1766, and we are moving towards December, January and February being the wettest winter in 250 years.”
Press Release, February 13, 2014