As the summer months continue, residents in Calderdale are being urged to remain vigilant and ready for the risk of flash flooding. Recent localised rainfall showers in parts of Yorkshire have served as a stark reminder that sudden and heavy downpours can pose a significant threat to the region.
The combination of intense rain falling on dry ground can rapidly overwhelm or block drainage systems, leading to an increased risk of flash flooding. The unpredictability of such events makes it challenging to predict with absolute certainty when and where they will occur.
To improve preparedness and increase awareness of local risks, Calderdale Council is encouraging residents and businesses to take several precautionary measures. Firstly, signing up for Met Office weather warnings allows individuals to stay informed about impending weather events. Secondly, registering for flood warnings is essential, providing timely alerts and critical information when flash flooding is imminent. Additionally, ensuring that personal flood plans are up to date and practising them regularly can save lives and minimise damage during emergencies.
The council also advises residents to take proactive steps to protect their properties from flooding. Installing barriers, drain sealers, and anti-flood air bricks can help prevent water from entering buildings. Furthermore, employing resilience measures like sump pumps, raised electrics, and water-resistant building materials can significantly mitigate flood damage.
The increase in flooding incidents in Calderdale over the past decade is attributed directly to the impacts of climate change. The region’s rapid run-off catchment, coupled with its steep-sided valleys and riverside communities, makes it particularly susceptible to flooding.
The severity of the impact can vary, with floods often affecting one community while sparing neighbouring areas. In times of flood warnings, it is crucial for individuals to prioritise their safety and heed the advice of emergency services. Even 30cm of flowing water can carry away vehicles, and standing floodwater can hide potential hazards like loose manhole covers.
Authorities and local communities are banding together to address the rising risk of flash flooding. By taking these proactive measures and staying informed, Calderdale residents can better protect themselves, their properties, and their communities during these unpredictable weather events.
As we head further into the summer season, let us remain vigilant and prepared for any potential flash flooding in our beloved Calderdale. By working together and staying proactive, we can overcome these challenges and ensure the safety and well-being of everyone in our community.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Action, Active Travel and Housing, Cllr Scott Patient, said; “It’s a harsh reality that climate change is making extreme weather more frequent, and sudden downpours and flash flooding are more likely in summer.
“We’ve seen some dramatic localised storms and rainfall recently, luckily these haven’t caused any major issues, but the unpredictability of their impacts means that it’s vital that we all do our bit to protect our distinctive environment.
“Whenever heavy rain is forecast, the Council closely monitors the situation and takes action such as clearing trash screens and inspecting flood defences. We’re also urging people to check their own flood plans and ensure they’re prepared and ready to act quickly if flooding should occur.”
Graham Lindsey, flood resilience team leader at the Environment Agency said; “Flash floods occur extremely quickly – much faster than other forms of flooding – and sometimes with massive force. They tend to happen when heavy rainfall runs off land and quickly swells rivers and streams, which can lead to very dangerous conditions. The steep-sided valleys in Calderdale make it even more important for communities to be aware of their flood risk, as the rain runs off the valleys and rivers can rise quickly with little warning.
“The most important things to do in these situations are to stay safe, cooperate with the emergency services and not put yourself at risk by walking or driving through flood water. We also advise that you regularly check your personal flood plan and test any flood protection measures you have to ensure you know how to install them ahead of a flood.”