Lessons can be learned as impact of Babet continues

As parts of the UK remained under weather warnings for heavy rain this weekend a leading member of the Environment Agency’s (EA) flood defence team said the threat to life and property remained acute.

It came as the agency confirmed its flood defences had protected nearly 100,000 properties during flooding caused by Storm Babet, over the past week.

However it warned the threat of flooding remains. As of 18:00pm on Friday were 16 flood warnings, meaning that flooding is expected, and 75 flood alerts, meaning that flooding is possible, and this number is likely to rise again over the weekend.

In particular, there were concerns that large waves and spring tides could bring coastal and tidal flooding to parts of the south west.

“An estimated 96,000 properties have been protected and as part of the EA’s response to flooding caused by Storm Babet, twenty high volume pumps and five small volume pumps were deployed across several sites,” The environment Agency said in a statement. “The EA’s flood warning service sent out over 300,000 messages by email, telephone and text during Storm Babet.

“Tragically, a number of deaths have been widely reported and, sadly, the total number of properties reported to have been flooded stands at 2,146. We will work to understand if more could be done to better protect these properties in future.”

It added while the immediate threat from Storm Babet has passed, heavy rainfall over the weekend means that significant river and surface water flooding is possible, but not expected, in parts of south east England on Saturday and Sunday. Large waves and spring tides also mean that coastal flooding impacts are probable for parts of the south coast over the weekend.

Dan Bond, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, explained: “Flood defences and the work of Environment Agency staff have helped to protected nearly 100,000 properties from flooding during Storm Babet, while the total number of properties sadly reported to have flooded is 2,146.

“However the threat of flooding remains. Large waves and spring tides mean that minor flooding impacts are probable for parts of the South West of England on Saturday, and heavy rainfall across sensitive river catchments means that significant river and surface water flooding is possible, but not expected, in parts of South East England on Saturday and Sunday.

“We advise people to take extreme care on coastal paths and promenades, stay away from swollen rivers and urge people not to drive through flood water as just 30cm of flowing water is enough to move your car.”

He added: “The Environment Agency has worked round the clock with its partners to help reduce the risk. Teams operated flood defences, flood storage reservoirs and put up temporary barriers where needed to help protect communities.”

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