With winter fast approaching Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is urging people to take action now to make sure they are ready and prepared to deal with the potential for the changeable and challenging weather conditions the season could bring.
The record rainfall and river flows triggered by Storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge in February year arrived following an exceptionally wet winter and led to the most severe and widespread flooding incidents seen in Wales since 1979.
And with the climate emergency bringing more extreme temperatures, more rain and more flood risk, it’s more important than ever before that people understand and prepare for the range of challenges winter weather can bring.
NRW’s flood defences help to protect 73,000 properties across Wales. Yet individuals and communities can also play an important role in reducing the impact of floods by being aware of flood risks and potential impacts and by being prepared to take action if and when a flood occurs.
NRW is encouraging people to take some simple steps to help play their part in the preparation efforts:
- Find out if you’re at risk of flooding – NRW’s upgraded online flood maps highlight if your area is at risk of flooding from rivers, the sea, reservoirs or from surface water and small watercourses: For those properties which are at risk, the website also provides information about the practical steps families and businesses can take to reduce the impact of a flood.
- Sign up for flood warnings - In many flood risk areas, you can sign up to NRW’s free flood warning service to receive an automated message when a flood alert, flood warning or severe flood warning has been issued in their area.
- Create a flood plan – A template is available on NRW’s website which identifies the urgent actions people will need to take during a flood. A flood plan captures important information such as the location of gas/water mains, key contact numbers and a list of immediate actions to reduce the impact of a flood.
- Prepare a flood kit – Be ready for a flood and have a pre-prepared kit containing essential items such as copies of insurance documents, first aid kit, prescription medication, pet or baby supplies, a torch and warm, waterproof clothing.
- Do you have insurance? Check if you have adequate flood insurance as part of your cover.
- Who deals with flooding? The Welsh Government’s Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) programme brings together a number of organisations from across Wales, to co-operate on preventing and managing flooding, through schemes and reporting.
- You can also obtain help and advice by calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188
Jeremy Parr, Head of Flood Incident Risk Management from Natural Resources Wales said:
“This has already been a record-breaking year of flooding in Wales, and sadly many families and businesses are still trying to get back on their feet following the exceptional flooding caused by storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge last February.
“As our climate changes, we expect these types of events to become more frequent. And while our teams are taking action to make sure our rivers are free from debris and checking our flood defences, we also need people and communities to do their bit.
“Understanding your flood risk is the first step. The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in more people spending more time at home, and places of work or recreation closing their doors for long periods of time. If you do find that your property is at risk of flooding, there is wealth of information, advice and services which are available on our website.”
“We will never be able to prevent all flooding, so it’s important that those at risk understand what small actions they can take to help protect themselves, their families and their properties this winter.”
Plummeting temperatures this winter will also mean that rain will not be the only element to contend with this winter.
Ahead of the first cold snap, NRW is also asking people who use heating oil to warm their homes to check their tanks and pipes for leaks to avoid pollution incidents.
Oil escaping from cracked pipes and damaged tanks can be incredibly harmful to the environment, as well as very costly to the resident.
People can report an an oil leak to NRW’s incident hotline on 03000 65 3000.