The Environment Agency is advising communities across the South-east of England to prepare for torrential rain and thunderstorms across the weekend, which can increase the risk of surface water flooding.
From this evening, thunderstorms and torrential rain are expected to move across England tomorrow (Saturday), starting in the South-east. These thunderstorms and heavy showers bring a risk of localised surface water flooding as some drainage systems may not be able to cope with the intense rainfall.
There is also the possibility of flash flooding from rivers in urban areas and smaller rivers. Environment Agency teams are out working across the region to minimise river flood risk, clearing debris from streams and unblocking culverts.
As the rainfall is expected to be intense, the teams are focusing in particular on rapid response catchments where the heavy rainfall could have the greatest impact.
Barry Russell, Environment Agency operations manager, said: “We are doing all we can to prepare for the heavy rainfall which is expected over the weekend, which increases the risk of surface water flooding.
“We are monitoring the situation closely and supporting local councils, who will respond to any reports of surface water flooding.
“The intense nature of the rainfall which causes surface water flooding makes it very difficult to accurately predict where it will occur, so I would urge people to check local weather forecasts and the gov.uk website for information on a regular basis.”
Surface water flooding can happen very quickly depending on where thunderstorms occur, the amount and intensity of the rainfall and the local drainage network. It is possible that roads may quickly become impassable and people are urged not to drive through flood water.
Environment Agency incidents rooms are opening across the region, and will be monitoring the situation and responding over the weekend.
People can sign up to receive free flood warnings for rivers, check their flood risk and keep up to date with the latest situation, including a three-day flood risk forecast here.
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