Wettest in southern England since 1766

No one could have predicted these events

No one could have predicted these events

Government Minister Eric Pickles has apologised unreservedly to the people of the Somerset Levels.

We made a mistake, there’s no doubt about that.

We perhaps relied too much on the Environment Agency’s advice.

I think we recognise now that we should have dredged and I think it’s important now that we get on with the process of getting people back into their houses, and really do some serious pumping.

I apologise unreservedly and I’m really sorry that we took the advice, we thought we were dealing with experts.

What is he apologising for?

  • That it has rained?
  • That the government has failed to heed warnings on climate change?
  • That we have an imbecile as Environment Secretary who has no understanding of the environment?
  • That we have a Prime Minister who is gung-ho on fracking?

Eric Pickles has said we were wrong to heed experts at Environment Agency? So who do we heed, politicians in the pocket of Big Businesses?

Eric Pickles has promised serious pumping. We are now going to have the equivalent of bailing out the Titanic with two tea strainers not one.

Eric Pickles has said we are now going to dredge the rivers flowing through the Somerset Levels. Has he looked at any computer modelling, and seen it would not have made a jot of difference?

The Somerset Levels flooded due to the sheer volume of water that has fallen from the sky in the last two months.

The Recent Storms and Floods in the UK (Met Office: 9 Feb 2014):

The persistence of the recent storminess is unusual, and although clustering of storms is quite common, the continued run of deep depressions, through December, January and on into February, is not. It is this continued run of storms that has created the exceptional flooding conditions experienced in the Somerset Levels.

If we wish to mitigate the floods in areas like the Somerset Levels, then we have to address the problem upstream. We also have to accept, with more rainfall, areas such as the Somerset Levels will flood, and farmers must adjust their farming practices accordingly, to work with Nature, not against.

Warm air holds more water. Warm air leads to more frequent and violent storms

We are seeing an increase in the hourly and daily rate of rainfall. That rainfall has to go somewhere. When the land is saturated, it flows straight off the land and into the rivers.

So much rain has fallen since the beginning of December, we are seeing groundwater rising and in places it is now coming up through the ground.

One hundred and thirty severe flood warnings, indicating a threat to life, have been issued since December. In contrast, there were only nine in the whole of 2012.

The Met Office has released a report today saying there are strong links with what we are experiencing this winter and climate change.

Is Eric Pickles going to put into effect:

  • rewilding, re-afforestation, reintroduction of wolves, beavers and lynx, retention of water upstream, slowing flow rates
  • prohibition of all building on flood plains
  • making villages, towns and cities more porous

In Curitiba, there is large areas of parkland and green space, during periods of heavy rain, the ducks float a little higher.

Simple ideas like green roofs, a ban on paving over gardens.

Beavers block streams, slow the rate of flow.

Wolves keep down the deer populations, vegetation can grow. The land can absorb more water, not as it does in areas grazed by sheep and deer, flow straight off the land.

Looking back over the last week, wave after wave of storms and heavy rain most nights. Today (Sunday) a slight lull, though still very strong winds blowing, during the week, starting Monday night, more storms are expected, and even if the rainfall is not heavy, the ground is saturated, the water will flow off the land, to exacerbate those areas already flooded, or create new floods.

Dawlish  railtrack workers working in six-hour shifts - between high tides - to repair the track

Dawlish railtrack workers working six-hour shifts, between high tides, to repair the track

Mid-week, the iconic railway line at Dawlish washed away.

Network Rail said it was "too early to say" when the track at Bridgwater would reopen

Network Rail said it was “too early to say” when the track at Bridgwater would reopen

Dawlish may have been the most dramatic, other parts of the country, the lines are flooded. At Bridgewater, the line is flooded. Engineers cannot say when the line will be back in use, as until the floods recede, they cannot see if the ballast has been washed away.

Somerset Levels flooded

Somerset Levels flooded

map of flooded Somerset Levels

map of flooded Somerset Levels

The water levels in the Somerset Levels carry on rising.

The Thames in London, has burst its banks in several sections.

River Wey

Guildford River Wey

In Guildford, the River Wey had overflowed, temporary flood barriers in place and the town centre once again under threat of flooding.

Farnham River Wey Gostrey Meadow

Farnham River Wey Gostrey Meadow

Farnham Bishop's Meadow flooded

Farnham Bishop’s Meadow flooded

The River Wey in Farnham, running very high through Gostrey Meadow, Bishop’s Meadow flooded.

Published on Medium with additional notes.

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