What to do if you are flooded out

Felpham floodingSteve Parsons/PA Wire/Press Association Images

This is officially the wettest drought on record. Hot on the heels of last weeks' flooding in West Wales, floods have engulfed the Sussex coastline. And the worst is not over yet, with three days of hurricane-force winds and three months' worth of rain expected over the next three days.

Flood alerts have been issued across the country and a 'major flood event' warning in the South West and Wales. So what can you do if you are affected?


Depressingly, the weather this June is officially the wettest since records began - not to mention the fact that sunshine is 60% lower than normal.

Things are going to get decidedly worse over the next three days, with forecasts of 15-20mm of rain today and another 30-50mm over the following two days.

Andy Page, Met Office Chief Forecaster said: "Due to the nature of showers, some areas will miss them altogether, but where they do occur, large amounts of rainfall are possible in a short space of time which has the potential to cause flooding."

David Bunt, Environment Agency Emergency Planning Manager for South West Region added: "Following the forecast from the Met Office, we are keeping a close watch on river levels, as the weekend's heavy rain has left many areas more vulnerable to flooding."

And the Environment Agency announced: "We are asking people in Devon, Cornwall, West Somerset, North Wales and parts of the Midlands to remain vigilant and prepared for flooding, after the Met Office issued a weather warning for heavy rain."

"Intense thundery downpours are expected this afternoon, which may lead to surface water flooding in vulnerable locations. Parts of Devon and Cornwall are at increased risk today, and we have urged operators of caravan and camping sites across the region to be ready to take action should flooding occur."

What to do if you are worried

The Association of British Insurers has issued advice to those worried about flooding in the next few days. It says we should keep abreast of developments and listen out for bad weather warnings on local radio and TV. It adds that it's worth getting together some vital documents in the event of flooding such as emergency contact numbers for your insurer, local authority and utility companies.

However, if you think there is a real risk there are extra steps you can take. It is worth ensuring any electronic items are out of reach of flood water, and unplugged on the ground floor. You may also want to put valuable items on a high shelf or upstairs. Think too about how you will survive if the water or electricity is cut off for a period. And don't forget to move your car to higher ground.

If you have a flood

If you have already been affected by flooding, the ABI says: "Contact your home insurer as soon as possible. Most will have 24-hour emergency helplines, which can give advice on next steps and arrange repairs as quickly as possible. If necessary, arrange temporary emergency repairs to stop any damage getting worse. Tell your insurer and keep any receipts, as this will form part of your claim."

It also points out that some things take time. Do not be in a rush to throw away damaged items, unless they are a danger to health, as these may be able to be repaired or restored. It can take weeks, sometimes months for a property to fully dry out, so do not be in a rush to redecorate.

Aidan Kerr, Head of Property at the Association of British Insurers, commented:"Insurers know how traumatic and disruptive flooding can be and their priority will be to work quickly to help affected customers. Many insurers will be operating 24 hour claims lines and drawing in extra staff to man these lines. Unexpected events like these are why people take out insurance and customers should contact their insurer as soon as possible for help and assistance to get claims moving quickly."

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