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Flash Floods and the Concrete Jungle

Here we go again – more rain, more floods and more trauma for those caught up in the onslaught. In Poole, Dorset, water flooded into the shopping centre and a museum had to be closed. In nearby Bournemouth roads were torn up and cars swept away. Welcome to summer! However, this wasn't a traditional flood – it wasn't a case of water bursting from a river or underground reservoir. Floods these days tend to result as flash flooding from surface water not being able to drain away fast enough – and this is a growing risk for us all.

No one seems to know quite why flash floods are becoming more frequent – other than to say that it is hard for experts to accurately pin-point the cause, but they have some concrete theories. The problem is that we are building more and more, tarmacing front gardens, building ever larger shopping centres and more and more houses. The rain can no longer fall easily on soft ground and drain away – instead it rushes around on hard surfaces such as roads and buildings, desperately seeking soft ground where it can dissipate. In the process it rushes through homes and businesses, causing flash floods and creating immense danger.

The summer is when we are most at risk of flash floods. We had the driest spring in the UK for decades and as a result the ground is hard and dry making it difficult for water to soak away. Given that long dry periods are often followed by rainstorms, this adds hugely to the problem.

No longer can you view the risk of flooding as being the 'lot' of those who live near the coast or near a river – or indeed on recognised flood plains. Anyone can now technically be at risk of flooding – and the resultant devastation and disruption can cause trauma for months or years to come.

In order to protect your home, Government advisors suggest that you:

> Check your home and buildings insurance and make sure you are covered for flooding
> Find out if damaged belongings will be replaced with new ones
> Make sure you know how to turn off your gas and electricity
> Keep a kit of essential items such as insurance documents, a battery powered torch, radio and first aid kit, place them in a waterproof bag
> Buy specialist flood protection products which have the BSI Kitemark

So perhaps we shouldn't blame Mother Nature and her anger at mankind, visiting us with floods! It would seem that Man himself is as much to blame with our concrete jungles and ever decreasing green belts. No matter who is at fault, make sure you are protected – and that means having a good insurance policy in place. Talk to an expert provider – Westhill Insurance Services are independent and will find you exactly the right policy to suit your needs: they will listen to the details of the type of property you have and the location in which it is situated – and they can even check the latest flood risk statistics in your area.

It seems an odd thing to think about if you are a mile from the nearest river, but technically even if you are perched on the top of the hill, you can still encounter a flash flood if the ground is hard enough. Don't take chances: it seems the flash floods aren't just a flash in the pan!

Contact Westhill Insurance Services, today.

Posted on 1st September, 2011