UK Is A Wet Sponge Says Flooding Expert
Britain’s rivers are ‘swelling up like beautiful monsters’ and increasing the risk of widespread flooding in the coming days.
Professor Hannah Cloke has urged people to check flood alerts for where they live as the danger to life increases.
The University of Reading hydrologist also said the rising risk of flooding highlights problems with the UK’s ‘creaky’ sewer systems and the impact of climate change.
UK Is A Wet Sponge – Flooding Expert
Professor Hannah Cloke, Professor of Hydrology at the University of Reading, said: “The decorations have been taken down but the flood warning map of England is currently lit up like a Christmas tree.
“Storm after storm this autumn and winter has made Britain a sopping wet sponge and there is nowhere for any extra rain to go.
“After Storm Henk formed late in the Atlantic and hit us on January 2, all that extra water is running straight off the landscape and our rivers are swelling up like the beautiful monsters they can be.”
“Forecasts suggest we will have some respite from the rain by the weekend but, larger rivers like the Severn are predicted to continue to rise today (January 4). The sun may come out but the waters could still be rising, so everyone should be checking for flood alerts.
“People should be very careful not to drive or walk through flood water. It is extremely dangerous. Even if you see other people doing it, don’t follow them. You should stop and turn around. The water may look shallow there, but it doesn’t take much to float a car and you could easily be swept away.”
“Unfortunately in these extreme conditions, and due to the creaky nature of our sewers, there will be raw sewage getting into the water everywhere. It is a reminder that we need to invest a lot more into our water system to deal with increasing risks of flooding in the years ahead, which we know is likely to get worse.
“Mild, warmer winters, heavier downpours of rain, and storms that hit us week after week are all examples of the impacts of climate change that are increasingly affecting the UK right now. This should be a reminder of the need to adapt our cities and infrastructure to deal with this hotter, more hazardous climate. It shows a small taste of the enormous costs we are building up in the years ahead if we fail to bring down emissions fast enough.”