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Pilot Flash Flood Alert Service for Cheddar


The Environment Agency are piloting a flash flood alert service for Cheddar. Cheddar has been identified as one of 67 communities across the South West that are at risk of flash flooding due to their topography and proximity to fast flowing watercourses.

Flash Flooding

As flash flooding by its very nature happens extremely quickly, the Environment Agency have developed and are piloting a 'Flash Flood Alert' service based on the rainfall radar. An alert of extreme rainfall that could lead to flash flooding can provide precious time to activate community flood plans to minimise the impact of flooding.

Why carry out a pilot test ?

The purpose of this pilot is to test the use of rainfall radar to provide an alert when extreme rainfall is forecast to hit one of the communities listed above and prompt the community flood volunteers to activate their community flood plan.

How will it work ?

The Environment Agency, will monitor radar rainfall 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year

If the rainfall radar shows that extreme rainfall of an intensity and duration, that could lead to flash flooding is forecast to affect Cheddar, the Environment Agency will issue a 'Flash Flood Alert' to the Flood Wardens/Volunteers in Cheddar.

The service is not available publicly, so will not be accessible or visible via their website 

The message will state:

'A Flash Flood Alert has been issued for the Cheddar area. Flood Wardens should immediately refer to the Cheddar Community Flood Plan.'

The alert could be triggered at any time, day or night and will indicate the estimated time of the start of the extreme rain and where possible, its duration.

What Should I do when I receive the Alert?

On receipt of the alert you need to:

Consider activating your internal procedures for dealing with flash flood events.

You may want to start observations, watch out for:

  1. Heavy rain and/or severe weather reports
  2. Rainfall not draining away leading to surface water flooding
  3. Rising water levels in rivers with churning dark water
  4. A build-up of debris in the river that could give way causing a wave of water to surge down the river.

People particularly at risk are:

  • In basement or single-storey accommodation such as a bungalow
  • Staying in a mobile home, tent, caravan, on a boat or in a wooden structure
  • Unfamiliar with the area, e.g. tourists.

Information

To report flooding, or blockages that may increase flood risk, please phone our incident hotline on 0800 807060 and ask to speak to your local Flood Warning Duty Officer for the Cheddar area.

Points to note

This pilot service will only be used when extreme rain likely to lead to flash flooding is forecast. It has been developed following rainfall analysis of previous flash flood events in the UK. As such it cannot alert for flooding that occurs as a result of less intense rainfall that may occur over a longer period of time, or for very short duration torrential rainfall (less than 15 minutes).

For further information on the development of this service please refer to the  British Hydrological Society

As this is a pilot service, If you live or work in Cheddar, we would really welcome your feedback on its performance. Please either e-mail any questions or feedback you may have to floodwessex@environment-agency.gov.uk  or call our general enquiries number on 03708 506 506 and ask to speak to the local Flood Warning Duty Officer, for Cheddar.

Environment Agency