Over 5 million people in England and Wales live and work in places that are at a risk of flooding from rivers or the sea. Some places have a higher risk of flooding and therefore may flood more frequently than others. In the future, climate change may make flooding happen more often.
Natural Resources Wales (www.naturalresources.wales) is one of lots of organisations who work to keep us safe. During a flood in Wales, the emergency services (police, fire, ambulance) will work together with local authorities and Environment Agency Wales to make sure that communities are as safe as possible.
Natural Resources Wales offers a special service which gives early warnings to people to warn them of possible flooding. This is called the Floodline Warnings Direct service. If this special service is available near your home or school, you can sign up to receive flood warnings by phone, email or text. Visit the Natural Resources Wales website or phone Floodline on 0845 988 1188 and give your address and postcode.
Natural Resources Wales also makes maps to show places that are at risk of flooding. These maps are available on the Natural Resources Wales website. Click here to find out if your area might flood. Do you live or go to school in an area that might flood?
Measuring the changes in water levels in rivers is just one of the many jobs done by Natural Resources Wales. River level information is now on the internet so people can check lice river level measurements. Click here to look at the river levels near you.
As well as talking to people about their flood risk, Natural Resources Wales also builds flood defence schemes to help reduce the risk of flooding in Wales. Flood defence schemes can help protect a town or village from flooding. You might know of flood defences along a river near you protecting a town, village, road or railway line. Climate change and different weather patterns may mean flooding could become worse in the future. This means we cannot just count on flood defences to protect us, so it is important everybody living in a place that might flood knows what they can do to help protect their families and their homes.
Some parts of Wales have suffered terribly from flooding in recent years. Flooding is not completely preventable, but we can prepare for floods. Natural Resources Wales has published information to help before and during floods, and after the water has receded.
It is important to know that responsibility for protecting your property rests with you, and not the Local Authority.
Jeremy Parr, NRW’s Head of Flood and Incident Risk Management reflects on one of the most devastating storms to hit Wales in recent history.
The impact of two weekend of storms - Ciara and Dennis - on people and property has been felt across the whole of Wales, and our thoughts are with all those affected.
Only a week on from Storm Ciara flooding communities across Wales, we saw exceptional rainfall and river levels during Storm Dennis over the weekend of 15-16 February, particularly across South Wales.
Many rivers have reached record levels, properties have been flooded and, in some communities, people were evacuated from their homes. The impacts have been significant, on people, property, businesses and livelihoods. These are the biggest floods for years in these areas, and communities will be affected for months to come.
All authorities have been hugely busy during this period, and this has been one of the busiest weekends we’ve had to deal with as Natural Resources Wales.
During the peak of Storm Dennis (Saturday 15 - Sunday 16), 61 Flood Alerts, 89 Flood Warnings and two Severe Flood Warnings were in force. That’s more warnings for rivers than we have ever had at any one time before in Wales.
There were significant impacts across South Wales in particular. Communities in Rhondda Cynon Taf were amongst the worst impacted by the storm with several hundred homes and businesses estimated to have been flooded – 800 on current estimates, but likely to rise.
There were impacts in many other places too, across the South Wales Valleys and along the Usk and Wye Valleys too. But the whole of Wales was affected. This on the back of Storm Ciara the previous weekend. The impacts of Ciara were more in North Wales, with communities like Llanrwst, Llanfair Talhaiarn and St Asaph affected. But it left the ground saturated and rivers running high across Wales, so Storm Dennis on the back of this meant that rivers did rise quickly.
Provisional rainfall data during Storm Dennis shows that there was exceptional rainfall particularly over the Brecon Beacons and South Wales Valleys. River Taff and Rhondda catchments received more than 160mm in some places, which is more than a month’s rainfall in a day.
Provisional data also shows that on Sunday morning (16 February) the River Taff at Pontypridd reached the highest level for over 40 years – 80 cm higher than the level in the 1979 floods.
At the peak of the flood in Pontypridd, we estimate that 900 tonnes of water per second was flowing down the River Taff. This would fill an Olympic sized swimming pool in just 3 seconds.
We can’t attribute every storm to the effects of climate change, but evidence suggests that unfortunately we are likely to see more of these extreme weather events.
Jeremy Parr, Natural Resources Wales Head of Flood and Incident Risk Management
Flooded Dee at Bangor on Dee in North Wales
Treforest Industrial Estate, near Cardiff, Wales - February 2020
House affected by flooding and a car submerged in floods after a storm in South Wales
Car and ambulance underwater during floods in Wales