The Great North Run 2023 hit the headlines after flash flooding wreaked havoc at the end, flooding both the Metro trainline and roads.
Thousands of runners who had completed the 13-mile route from Newcastle to South Shields were left trapped and shivering as the rain pounded down.
Many more flash floods have hit parts of the UK in recent days but gone unreported although in June Rotherham hospital’s accident and emergency department was affected by flooding and two supermarkets were damaged by flooding – Waitrose in Buckingham and Asda at Trafford Park in Manchester.
So what is a flash flood and what can you do to be prepared for it?
First of all, it can happen anywhere and at any time and when millions of gallons of rainwater fall from the skies it very quickly leads to flood damage.
What many people don’t realise is that local councils have no responsibility to provide sandbags or any other anti-flooding measures if a flood is imminent. Flash floods hit so quickly that people have little time to react and certainly no time to try to get sandbags from somewhere.
This is why many flood action groups, facility management companies and councils now use FloodSax alternative sandbags as they are cheaper than pre-filled sandbags, space-saving to store and quick and easy to deploy in the kind of flooding emergencies we are now seeing all too regularly.
FloodSax can be deployed and in action preventing floodwater from getting into homes and businesses in well under 10 minutes.
Flash flooding – which can often happen during thunderstorms - is often caused when so much rain falls in such a short period of time neither the ground nor the drains can cope with it and it runs through the roads like a fast flowing river.
The floodwater can cause countless thousands of pounds damage in a home or business within a couple of minutes of getting in which is why speed is so vital with flood protection and every second really does count.
It’s particularly bad when the ground is bone hard dry or, ironically, already saturated with rain. Also, many areas in cities and built-up areas have been concreted or paved over with gardens and grass vanishing replaced with driveways for car parking.
This is known as urban creep and is happening across the UK. http://www.floodsax.co.uk/news/what-is-urban-creep-and-how-is-it-adding-to-flooding-problems/
Add in the possibility that drains and gullies have not been cleared out by councils and you’ve a recipe for a massive flooding disaster. Flash floods often hit quite small areas so are impossible to predict but the consequences can be devastating.
Flash floods are dangerous because only 6 inches of water is enough to knock a person off their feet. Just 12 inches is enough to move a car and if it goes above 18 inches then that’s powerful enough to sweep a larger vehicle away.
Insurance claims from flooding are way higher than burglaries with the average claim in the UK now about £31,000. Flooding is known as “the thief who takes everything.”
It wrecks the very fabric of your home – walls will need replastering and floors relaying – as well as destroying your possessions. Any electrical items such as TVs, dishwashers and tumble dryers will need to be thrown away if they are damaged by floodwater.
So it’s absolutely essential to keep the floodwater out in the first place and the Environment Agency is clear that people are responsible for their own flood protection and that specialist flood mitigation and flood resilience products are better than traditional sandbags.
The Environment Agency states: “Don’t assume the authorities will provide you with sand bags in a flood emergency. It’s the responsibility of property owners to take appropriate action to protect their property from flooding. Sandbags are relatively ineffective when compared to purpose-built flood protection products. We strongly encourage people to use these products.”
Some councils recommend FloodSax ‘sandless’ sandbags which are a flexible alternative to traditional sandbags that are space-saving to store and quick and easy to deploy.
They are vacuum-packed and when unwrapped resemble a large pillowcase but when FloodSax are immersed in water they absorb around 20 litres and retains it, transforming them from being as light as a pillowcase to being more effective than traditional sandbags in around five minutes.
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 inside homes and businesses, especially in hard-to-reach places such as beneath pipes, radiators, sinks and boilers.
Almost 3 million have now been sold worldwide.
For more on FloodSax and how to buy them online go to https://www.floodsax.co.uk/