After a dry couple of weeks, the forecast of rain seemed a good thing for gardens and fields. As the children and I watched the road outside our house turn into a river, it still all seemed part of the fun. Then the water started coming in the back door, and we began bailing and mopping. When the water started coming in the front door too, we knew it was all over. The time had come to evacuate.
By the time we left our house, swirling brown water came up to the second step on the stairs. The current of the river running through washed toys, boxes, bags and anything that floated from one room to another.
The rain began to ease off, but the worst was still to come. Returning to the house next day, to see everything downstairs - floor, carpets, sofas and armchairs - covered in thick, dark sludge, that’s when the reality hit home. A couple of hours of flooding means months of clear-up.
I know we’re not alone. Villages across Kent suffered flooding - Stockbury, Lenham, Doddington, Detling to name a few in this area. Cars caught in the water have been written-off. After the long, cold winter did such damage to the roads, patched-up potholes have now reappeared. Many others are also facing months of clearing out, repairing and renovating.
One question is whether this was a once in a generation event, or are heavy downpours becoming a new normal? This was seven inches of rain in two and a half hours. The last time our village flooded was twenty years ago, but even that wasn’t so bad. Weather patterns are changing, with increased risk of flash floods. That means we need to be better prepared - from planning policy, drainage and community flood defences, to working out how we keep water out of our own homes.
As I head back to see what I can salvage from the mud-soaked kitchen, I’m thinking of everyone else in the same boat. The Association of British Insurers have sent me some useful document, which you can read here and here. As ever, I will give what help I can.
|Resistant and resilient repair after flooding||1.9 MB|
|Responding to major floods||2.98 MB|