On Thursday, 19 July, the Richmond Council Borough Contingencies Unit received severe weather warnings from the Met Office. Flood warnings were put on our website and distributed to local media. Several hours of very heavy rain (up to 60mm) caused flash flooding where sewers became full. NB- sewers are the responsibility of Thames Water. Generally flooding was confined to roads but homes and businesses became flooded where vehicles caused wash or where the rain was of very great magnitude. Even some homes on Richmond Hill had flooded basements where water ran in from the highway- elevation is no defence.

The worst affected area was Teddington but across the Borough approximately 200 properties (business and homes) in around thirty streets sustained damage. Ten schools reported damage although it was the last day of term for some and others had already broken up. Sewer surcharging was once again the main cause. Whitton school was 60% flooded for the same reason. Children at St Richard’s with St Andrew’s were moved to other rooms for safety when the roof started leaking. Education see no reason why all schools will not open for September.

A rest centre was established at Sheen Lane day centre with the capacity for 150 people who had nowhere else to stay. Shelter, sleeping, feeding and basic personal requirements were provided for from pre stocked supplies. Pharmacy support was also available for those needing medication. In the event, only three women and three babies arrived at 1730! The Council provided transport as well. At 2030, the residents were transferred to a local hotel for the night. This was the first time that the recently formed and trained Richmond Emergency Support Team (REST) had been activated with 7 volunteers in attendance at the rest centre. Council street scene inspectors were dispatched to assess the damage in those roads where flooding had been reported and resources directed accordingly. Example action included removal of raw sewerage from Ferry Road Teddington where sewers has overflowed.

Environment Agency latest

In West London where the River Thames flows between Molesey and Teddington river levels are not expected to flood properties.

At present there is an extremely low risk of any flooding events from the Thames through London and on the tidal Thames. There are no high tides forecast within the next two weeks, which means that at present the River Thames below Teddington has the capacity to take the water flowing into it.

However, there is always a risk of further storms having an impact, as this will mean that river levels are still high when we have high tides in a week’s time. We are continuing to monitor the situation closely.

We urge people to call Floodline on 0845 988 1188, or check the website, for up to date information. We are advising residents to sign up for Flood Warnings Direct- a free service from the Environment Agency which alerts subscribers by text, phonecall, email and fax to all warnings in their area. Contact 0845 988 1188 and ask for Flood Warnings Direct.

The current flood warning for our part of the Thames is still only a flood watch, The next level- flood warning will trigger an additional response from the Council including leafleting of properties at risk and standing-by of rest centres.

Borough Contingencies Unit advice for the public

  • If floodwater places life in danger dial 999 IMMEDIATELY and request the fire brigade.
  • Keep an eye on weather reports and flood warnings: www.metoffice.gov.uk www.environment-agency.gov.uk
  • Consider defending your property against floodwater. Advice on DIY defences is provided by the Environment Agency here
  • Please note that the Council neither sells nor provides sand bags. These and other equipment can be obtained from your local builder’s merchant. See the listing in the Yellow Pages and other directories.
  • Exercise extreme caution if walking through floodwater as hidden obstructions can cause fatal injuries

– from Richmond Council