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The UK’s Worst Floods

04 September 2015

In recent years, parts of the UK have experienced devastating floods which have cost people their homes, businesses and livelihoods. With some communities left underwater for over a month, last year the Treasury announced £2.3bn was to be invested in flood defences to protect homes.

More than 1,400 flood defence projects received funding to try and prevent future flooding having such an impact. While you can’t prevent natural disasters or control the weather, it’s important to have preventative measures and be prepared for the worst.

However, much of the original investment in flood defences by the Labour government was cut by the coalition, leaving many homeowners in flood-prone areas to try and protect their property themselves. The government called on households at risk of flooding to take responsibility for their own flood management and prevent future damage to property. This includes installation of air brick covers, seals for cat flaps and comparing specialist flood insurance.

If you think modern floods of recent years have been catastrophic, that’s nothing compared to what the UK has been hit with in the past. Let’s take a look at some of the UK’s worst ever floods:

1953 East Coast Flood

In January 1953, a powerful storm surge combined with strong winds caused sudden flooding all along the East coast of England and Wales. The exceptional weather conditions and the inability to warn people ended in disaster as almost all sea walls were breached, causing extensive flooding. 307 people lost their lives in the flood in England, with 19 deaths caused in Scotland. The powerful storm surge also affected other areas of Europe, and the Netherlands reported 1,800 victims.

August 1952, Devon Flood

Less than a year earlier, heavy rainfall in Exmoor caused the River Lyn to turn into a raging deluge. The water swept across the town of Lynmouth, claiming the lives of 34 residents and making 420 people homeless.

Do you live is a flood risk area and if so, are you prepared? Never underestimate Mother Nature. Last year the combined rainfall for December and January was the wettest since records began in 1910. And with the Met Office admitting climate change is a factor for recent floods, it’s probably going to get worse in the future.

John Russell - post author

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