Flash flooding could close several London Undergound stations with this summer’s latest heatwave potentially coming to a very damaging end.
The warning has been put out by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, just over a year after previous flash flooding in the capital shut dozens of Underground stations.
According to online publication Railtec.com, flash floods could render the central and older parts of the London Underground inoperative.
In a recent interview the Mayor said: “Just over 12 months ago we faced two months’ worth of rain in two hours which did lead to flash flooding with homes, businesses and many Transport for London stations flooded.
“Damage was sustained at underground stations and some surface stations too with a huge volume of water dropped on the capital’s infrastructure. We fear there could be flash flooding in the next few days caused by excessive rain in a short period of time.
“We are co-ordinating with businesses, the fire brigade and Transport for London to do what we can to be as ready as possible. I have to be honest and tell you we are not going to be fully prepared for dealing with the consequences of climate change because our city was not built for the sort of rain we could possibly receive in the coming week. We will do what we can.
“The important thing is we have written to those families whose homes could be flooded. TfL have got plans in place so they can also take steps to ameliorate any consequence of flash flooding.”
In the wake of two major flash flooding incidents in London in July 2021 it was revealed that almost half of hospitals, one in five schools and a quarter of London’s rail stations are at risk of flooding.
The statistics revealed by City Hall also say around 200,000 homes and workplaces are at medium or high risk of surface water floods.
Hackney, Brent, Tower Hamlets, Newham, Islington, Hammersmith and Fulham are all at particularly high risk of flooding.
The Underground has used FloodSax alternative sandbags to deal with floods on its network, especially those parts used by passengers where water can cause health and safety problems such as the risk of slipping.
FloodSax - which are also referred to as flood bags, flood sacks or even waterbags - are vacuum-packed and when unwrapped resemble a large pillowcase but when FloodSax are immersed in water they absorb 20 litres which transforms them from being as light as a pillowcase to being more effective than traditional sandbags in around five minutes.
FloodSax are a multi-purpose product. In their dry state they are super-absorbent yet thin with a large surface area so are highly effective at soaking up drips, leaks, spills and floods on the London Tube network, especially in hard-to-reach places such as beneath barriers, pipes, radiators, sinks and boilers.
They were invented in Yorkshire by Huddersfield-based company Environmental Defence Systems Ltd and almost 3 million have now been sold worldwide since 2007.