THERE was a Biblical level of rain yesterday in Northamptonshire and at one point I was worried the Ark may arrive too late to save me. Thankfully I donít live in a flood area but if I did Iíd make sure that I had the right Flood Insurance in place because British summers are changing.
A bit like the economy, the weather in the UK now is boom or bust. On Sunday it was 30 degrees and the sunshine was grilling everyone mercilessly. Then on Tuesday at 1500 it was nearly as dark as night and there was the downpour to remind us all it was actually summer.
I studied geography at school and the reason these extremes are causing havoc is simple. A prolonged period of dry weather creates a hard ground surface. A heavy downpour does not give the ground time to soften and absorb the water Ė it runs off instead. That is hundreds of thousands of gallons of water running off the land and into watercourses. They rise and depending on how long and heavy the rain is they then flood or donít.
When there has been lots of rain and the water table is high then it is a similar story, the water runs off and places like Cockermouth find streets filling with water. And homes, factories, businesses and shops fill with water as well. Itís when that happens that Flood Insurance comes into its own.
If you live in an area that has flooded in the past or has a watercourse somewhere nearby then you need to be worried. There is no telling when a flood could happen and given the increasing extremes of the British weather.
Flood defences are an option for councils but take years to put in place and letís be honest, they can be breached. The only thing you can really do to protect yourself is get good Flood Insurance.
This will be tailor made to deal with the repercussions of a flood and if you suffer damage or loss due to water damage then it will pay out and sort your problem for you. Many standard policies will not deal with flood damage and leave you Ė excuse the irony Ė high and dry.
The first thing you have to do is be honest and accept you may live in a flood risk area. Then accept that your Flood Insurance for your home is likely to cost a little bit more. That extra payment Ė which will not be massive in most cases, but a small percentage higher Ė is well worth it in case you have a flood.
Yes, canvass the council and break out the sandbags, these may help, but make sure you have the safety net of Flood Insurance in place. Failing that, get on your knees and pray Ė that may be the only other thing that can help you when Biblical levels of rain start to †fall, because when the Ark turns up it is too late to put the right insurance in place.