Torrential rain caused flash floods in London and parts of southern England yesterday, 07 June, 2016.
Some areas of south London saw over a month’s worth of rain in just a few hours. The UK’s Met Office say that yesterday, 48.2mm of rain fell in Kenley, situated in the London Borough of Croydon, around 20 km south of central London. Most of the rain fell in just a few hours during the afternoon. The normal monthly total for June in London is 47.4 mm.
The London Fire Brigade said that it received up to 200 flood-related 999 (emergency) calls – roughly three times as many as normal.
In Wallington, in the London Borough of Sutton, a low-lying road that runs through the town centre and beneath a railway bridge was under 2 metres of water within a few minutes after the rain began around 14:00. At least three drivers became trapped in the flood water and one had to be rescued by teams from the London Fire Brigade. The flooded area has since been pumped and cleared. London Fire Brigade said:
“The most significant incident was three cars flooded to the depth of two metres on Manor Road in Wallington. Two people were assisted from their cars before the arrival of the Brigade, and a third person was rescued by firefighters. The Brigade was called at 1421 and the incident was under control by 1450.
“The Brigade has a range of equipment which can be used to help rescue people trapped by flood water, pump water away and protect properties. Some of the Brigade’s fire rescue units are equipped with water rescue equipment such as inflatable rescue boats. The Brigade also has a number of high volume pumps stationed at strategic locations across the capital. These can be used to pump large amounts of water away from flooded areas.”
Cuts to Fire Service
Earlier this year, the Fire Brigade Union (FBU) in the UK argued that cuts to the fire service are leaving more and more communities at risk when flooding strikes. Government cuts means that there are now 6,500 fewer firefighters than in 2007. In England and Wales, there is no statutory duty for the fire service to respond to flood emergencies.
Flooding was also reported in the county of Bedfordshire, to the north of London, affecting the busy Luton Airport.
Luton Airport said that “flash flooding in the local area is affecting power supply to the airport and wider vicinity”. The power outage caused problems with computer systems used for passport control. The system returned to normal around one hour later.
Bedfordshire Police also reported severe flooding in the town of Dunstable, saying “We are currently only responding to life-threatening emergencies in Dunstable due to the flooding.” The flood water has since receded and no injuries or fatalities reported.
Scotland and Northern Ireland
Elsewhere in the UK, three people were struck by lightning in Lisburn, County Antrim, in Northern Ireland. Heavy rain caused flooding in the Scottish Borders, where some roads were closed. Flooding caused some damage to homes and a school in Penicuik, according to the BBC.
The video below shows how one drive became trapped in flood waters in Wallington on 07 June 2016. Underestimating flood water when driving is common and one of the major factors in flood-related deaths in the USA and Australia.
Caution, video contains strong language.
— Suzy (@sparkiesuze) June 7, 2016
— Suzy (@sparkiesuze) June 7, 2016
— Met Office (@metoffice) June 7, 2016
B - Dunstable
C - Luton Airport
D - Penicuik
Kenley - June 7 to June 7, 2016
Most of the rain fell in just a few hours during the afternoon.
June 7 to June 7, 2016
London Fire Brigade said that it received up to 200 flood-related emergency calls.