Tuesday, June 26, 2007

All that water 

Ah yes the floods. Having done consultancy work twenty-odd years ago (for one of the pre-privatisation Water Authorities) on building information systems on flood incidents, this weeks news comes as little surprise. As I remarked before

There is no ironclad criteria for makes a 'floodplain'. Most of the officially delimited floodplains, in planning maps in England anyway, are based on the areas of inundation of the 1947 floods adjusted for the very different experiences of the 1974 floods. Areas that did not flood then may actually be a high risk from flooding. Councillors who sit on Development Control Committees should be very sceptical of precise flood-risk boundaries in planning submissions.

Much of the historic data on floods was lost at the time of the privatisation of the old
Water Authorities when people over 50 were compulsorily retired to 'slim down' the
workforces and too late it was discovered that much flood information had been held
as local lore and not written down... Even the Environmental Agency's Flood Risk Calculator is not the last word.

FOCUS teams in flooded can really help by establishing where maximum water level lines occurred – taking photos for example and keeping a flood diary for their patch (also an useful job for parish councils actually). Could be invaluable if some developer comes along in a few years wanting to build on a site you know got soaked.

Oh and on tornados I highly recommend again the TORRO (Tornado and storm research organisation) site.. amazing data on UK storms.

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