Communities in the South East are being urged to remain aware of the potential for more river and coastal flooding over the weekend with further heavy rainfall predicted to fall on already saturated ground.
This warning comes as high spring tides are also forecast along the south coast from Friday January 31. There are currently 4 Flood Warnings and 103 Flood Alerts in force for the South East. A Flood Warning means that flooding of property is expected and that people should take action to prepare.
High groundwater levels mean there is a continued risk of flooding in many areas such as south Wiltshire, Hampshire, West Berkshire, West Sussex, Surrey and Kent. The unusual frequency and intensity of rainfall in December 2013 into January 2014 has led to a much more rapid rise in groundwater levels than is usually measured. Groundwater levels are high and still rising. Further substantial rainfall is likely to raise groundwater levels even higher and could lead to further flooding.
Mark Heelis of the Environment Agency said: “Today, tomorrow and into the weekend we are expecting heavy rainfall which will continue to raise the threat of flooding to communities in the south east.
“We are monitoring the situation very closely as river and groundwater levels across the South East remain high and responsive, and standing water remains in some flood plains. As high spring tides are also forecast over the weekend we will be keeping a close eye on the developing situation around the coast.
Groundwater flooding is already affecting a small number of properties across Surrey, West Berkshire, Wiltshire and north east Hampshire, in particular through the Meon Valley at Hambledon. The River Nailbourne catchment in Kent has also been affected by groundwater.
People are urged to avoid driving or walking through flood water. Fast-flowing water that is just 15cm deep can be enough to knock an adult off their feet.
Advice for those dealing with flooding is available on the Environment Agency website and from Floodline on 0845 988 1188 . Up-to-date information is available on Twitter @EnvAgencySE and by following #floodaware.