THE wet summer has left the country with a higher risk of flooding this autumn and winter, with Hampshire particularly at risk, the Environment Agency and Met Office have warned.
The wettest April to June on record, and further wet weather in July, September and October, left river levels full, the ground saturated and groundwater in some areas exceptionally high.
Emergency responders as well as householders are being advised to be prepared for flooding, which, due to the saturated conditions, could occur with relatively small amounts of rain.
Head of flood incident management at the Environment Agency Paul Mustow said: ‘This year our flood defences have protected over 119,000 properties, but we cannot prevent flooding entirely.
‘With one in six homes at risk of flooding, the most important step people can take in protecting themselves from the worst impacts is to find out if they are at risk, and sign up to the EA’s free flood warnings service.
‘We’d encourage everyone to take this one step to help protect themselves from what is recognised as the country’s number one natural hazard.’
The EA and Met Office are warning that the South West of England is of particular risk of flooding from rivers in November and December with northern and western parts of England at Wales at increased risk after recent heavy rainfall.
Unseasonably high groundwater levels mean there is increased risk of flooding in the south and east of England with Devon, Dorset and Hampshire particularly at risk.
Flooding from surface water, where the amount of rainfall overwhelms the drainage network, is more likely as the ground is already saturated.
The risk of coastal flooding also increases at this time of year, especially during periods of high spring tides from November 12-18 and December 12-18.
Households and businesses can check their flood risk and sign up to receive free flood warnings at environment-agency.gov.uk/flood.