People in Calderdale are being asked to check their flood plans and prepare for possible impacts from the heavy and persistent rain forecast for West Yorkshire over the next few days.
The Met Office has issued an amber warning for rain from 6am on Tuesday 19 January to 12pm on Thursday 21 January. A combination of heavy rainfall, already saturated ground and melting snow could cause some flooding in Calderdale and other areas. Organisations across the region are preparing for potentially significant and widespread impacts.
As a precaution over the weekend, Calderdale Council has been sweeping high-risk flood areas, keeping drains and gullies as clear as possible and taking other precautionary measures across the borough. Preparations will continue throughout today.
Extra staff are on duty to prepare and monitor the situation, and teams are on 24-hour standby, ready to respond to any flooding in partnership with other organisations.
Cllr Scott Patient, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Resilience, said:
“Sadly, heavy rain and the risk of floods are becoming more frequent because of climate change. That’s why we declared a climate emergency in 2019 and have been working hard with our partner organisations and communities to build flood protection and resilience in Calderdale.
“Council teams and our partners are doing everything we can to prepare for this week’s expected bad weather. We’re urging local residents and businesses to take all the steps they can to protect themselves and their property. There are simple things we can all do to get ready to deal with any issues caused by heavy rain or flooding, and I know we’d respond with Calderdale’s usual kindness and resilience.”
During previous floods, support hubs have been set up in community locations as a central point for the flooding response. However, due to COVID-19, the Council has developed virtual community support hubs to help people if there is flooding during the pandemic.
The virtual hubs work similarly to the physical ones, but everything will be done remotely to reduce the need for face-to-face contact and to protect staff, volunteers, those affected by flooding and vulnerable people in our communities.
People can report flooding and their recovery needs by submitting an online report on the Council’s website at www.calderdale.gov.uk/v2/residents/environment-planning-and-building/flooding/report-flooding or by ringing Customer First on 01422 288001. Teams will then arrange the appropriate support.
Please be reassured that support is still available throughout a flooding incident during the pandemic. Emergency services and the Council will continue to respond to any flooding using their tried and tested procedures, with additional COVID-secure measures in place as the risk of the virus is still high in Calderdale.
The following advice is helpful in preparing for bad weather and flooding:
- Check your flood risk and sign up for free flood warnings at www.gov.uk/check-flood-risk(external link) to provide a prompt for action in the event of possible flooding from the river.
- Sign up for weather alerts. You can sign up to the Met Office’s weather warning service and check with your local flood group to get a better understanding of your local risk.
- Keep an up-to-date flood plan and practise it regularly. This can reduce damage to your property in the event of a flood. The plan should include steps to take in the event of possible flooding (e.g. move important items to safety, turn off gas and electricity and install property-level protection products) and a list of essential items to have to hand when it floods (e.g. medicines, mobile phone and bottled water).
- Check flood resilience products such as flood doors, pumps and non-return valves for signs of damage or wear and tear, arrange for them to be repaired if necessary and clear any dirt and other obstructions. Test them to ensure that they are in good working order and make sure you know how to operate them. Some non-essential shops and other business premises may not have been visited for some time due to COVID-19 restrictions, so businessowners with flood barriers and other measures are urged to check their equipment.
- Think about how you could make your property more resilient. Combining flood resistance measures (including barriers, drain sealers and anti-flood air bricks) and resilience measures (such as sump pumps, raised electrics and water-resistant building materials) is the most effective way to protect your property.
- Be aware that the Council and volunteer flood wardens do not provide sandbags to individuals during a flood. They are rarely the best solution for keeping floodwater out of properties. There are other products available, including artificial bags, that are more effective, easier to use, reusable, and will not rot in storage.
More information on preparing for, dealing with and recovering from flooding can be found at www.eyeoncalderdale.com(external link)