This April has been the wettest since records began in 1910, with 132 flood alerts issued in England and Wales during the past few days. Furthermore, 33 more serious flood warnings have been given out by the Environment Agency.
Home-owners and businesses in low-lying areas are understandably apprehensive about the current weather. The Meteorological Office data for the last month revealed that 121.8mm of rain fell on average. This is almost double the usual amount of precipitation for this time of year.
Furthermore, there have been several serious incidents for the emergency services.
For example, a school bus with 14 pupils on-board had to be pulled out of floodwater at Peterchurch in Herefordshire. Tragically, a 52-year-old London man, Jonathan Gammon, died after his car was swept away at a ford near the border between Berkshire and Hampshire.
However, it seems that this rain has fallen at the wrong time of year to make a difference to the drought orders and hose-pipe bans already put in place by the Water companies. These measures were taken because the country has endured two of the driest years since records began.
Jamie Hannaford, of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, says winter rain is better because it does not evaporate so quickly, and further explains: ”It’s in the winter season that the rain that falls can soak down through the soil and make its way down into the groundwater stores”.
A hose-pipe ban means consumers may not use a hose to clean their cars, water plants, clean patios or decking, or fill decorative ponds or pools. However, these tasks may be carried out using a bucket for water. Breaking a hose-pipe ban could mean a court appearance and a fine of up to £1,000.