London Fire Brigade

Following forest fires firefighters focus on flash floods

22 July 2013

After dealing with a huge increase in grass and forest fires, London’s firefighters are now on flood alert after the Met Office issued a ‘yellow alert’ severe weather warning  for the capital tonight and into tomorrow.

The Met Office has said that heavy outbreaks of rain will affect the capital today starting in the early evening. Torrential downpours are predicted tomorrow with the warning lasting until Wednesday. The rain will dampen the number of grass fires which reached 29 a day during the first three weeks of July.

Peter Cowup, the Brigade’s Acting Head of Operational Procedures, said:

“Heavy rainfall can create fast flowing water that may look safe but can be powerful enough to knock you off your feet. We want people to stay well away from any flood water, streams and rivers and to keep a close eye on their children and dogs to make sure they stay away from the water.

“Fortunately we’ve not been called to any drownings in London during the hot spell and we certainly want that to continue throughout the rest of the summer.

“We’re well trained and equipped to deal with water rescues but we’d far rather people took steps to ensure their own safety and the safety of those they are looking after in order to avoid these dangerous situations in the first place.”

The Met Office is predicting the possibility of isolated heavy showers and thunderstorms developing in London during the afternoon and evening. 

With the hard ground caused by the recent hot, sunny weather there will be more runoff and a higher risk of surface water flooding. The Met Office believes there is the potential for as much as 30 mm of rain an hour in places.

The Brigade has issued three top flooding safety tips:

1) Put people before property.  Move your family and pets upstairs if your home floods.
2) Stay well away from moving water like streams and rivers.
3) During a flood, don’t go out unless you have to. Remain calm and call 999 if you are in danger. Avoid moving in floodwater as this can be fast flowing. 

ENDS