Flood risk 'to return in winter,' warn agencies
- 2 November 2012
- From the section Wales
Wales faces flooding risks this winter, even after brief periods of rain, the Met Office and Environment Agency warn.
The third wettest summer since 1910 has left the ground saturated while rivers and aquifers are full, they say.
They warn emergency services and householders to be prepared as high levels of ground water risk slowing down or blocking drainage systems.
Parts of north Ceredigion suffered severe floods in June, while 600,000 people live in Welsh flood risk areas.
Recent heavy rainfall has left rivers prone to bursting their banks in November and December, according to the two organisations.
The risk of flooding in coastal areas is also raised during high spring tides over 12-18 November and 12-18 December, they say.
June was the wettest month in Wales with 205mm of rain falling, compared to the monthly average of 85.8mm.
More than a month's worth of rain fell on 8 and 9 June in north Ceredigion, causing flooding which affected more than 1,000 people.
Villages including Talybont, Dol-y-bont, Penrhyncoch and Llandre were hit, as well as areas of Aberystwyth.
A major rescue operation was launched as people were driven from their homes. They were later told it would be at least six months before they could return.
Last week world-renowned climatologist Sir John Houghton warned that extreme weather patterns are here to stay, and the risk of flooding will rise.
Paul Mustow, the Environment Agency's head of flood incident management, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It has been a topsy turvy year for us.
"Our experts were very surprised by the results of the summer rain."
Graham Hillier, flood and coastal risk manager for Environment Agency Wales, said: "One in six properties are at risk from flooding and it's not just the properties - it's the roads, it's low lying areas that will also be likely at flood risk.
"It has been an exceptionally wet summer. In fact it's been the wettest April to June on record and it's rained a lot since June as well.
"So what this means is that the ground is saturated and so any further rain is likely to find its way into our rivers and drainage ditches."
Mick Fothergill, who was affected by flooding in Talybont, said local residents were preparing for any future incidents.
He said: "We've trying to develop our own community action plan so if flooding does occur we'll be better organised in the village to cope with it.
"But it still won't stop the traumatic effects of flooding in your own property."