Storm Christoph

Another newsletter and another spell of bad weather to report on. Storm Christoph gave rise to over 200 warnings of expected or possible flooding in England and Wales. The downpours delivered nearly five inches of rain in less than 24 hours to some areas resulting in people being evacuated from their homes, road closures and suspended rail services. Most residents of the Don Catchment were, thankfully, spared this time around though reports of water levels flush with flood embankments hammer home that it was a close call.

The River Don close to overtopping flood embankments in the aftermath of Storm Christoph. Photo credit Jordan O’Grady.

With the devastation caused by last year’s floods in the catchment still raw for many, we are reminded once again that we are in a state of climate emergency and that these extreme weather events are, and will be happening more regularly. It is vital that we do as much as we can to improve our resilience to flooding while the root causes of climate change are addressed. Natural flood management (NFM) is a really important part of the toolkit needed to help tackle flood risk together with sustainable urban drainage, hard engineered solutions (like flood walls and levees) and property level protection (e.g. flood doors, higher positioned sockets and electricals). Interest and investment in NFM is increasing all the time as the evidence base for it both in reducing flood risk and delivering a host of other benefits grows. There is still a long way to go but with plans underway for organisations including ourselves to partner up and implement flood alleviation measures throughout the Don Catchment right the way from the hills in the Peak District out to the Humber Estuary, we are hopeful and excited at this step change in managing flood risk here and the impact it could have.

We got out during the storm to see how the NFM measures we’ve already installed with your help were holding back high flows (see leaky dam video below) and visited new sites to understand how water travels through them during heavy rainfall and where best to try and hold it back as part of future schemes.


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Measures you can take to help protect your property against flooding –