Articles on Floods

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Sometimes the choice is to flood town or country. Sometimes it’s both. Ben Birchall/PA

Total flood defence is a myth: we must learn to live with the water

Floods happen. Rivers have always inundated their floodplains and the sea has always tried to reclaim land that has been taken from it. This is certainly true in Somerset, whose name derives from the Old…
The east coast of England in 1953. PA

Are storm surges getting worse?

Brigid, another Atlantic storm, has hit Britain with heavy rain and gale-force winds, especially the already sodden west coast. The last few months have seen very wild weather, including 100mph winds during…
Role reversal: a river of land in fields of water. Tim Ireland/PA

The inconvenient truth: houses built on floodplains could flood

Ministers should be applauded for recognising that there’s simply no way we could tell the thousands of key workers and low income families, desperate for a decent home, that we can’t build any more new…
More appealing and often more effective than concrete flood barriers. John Haynes

Restore our meadows, a most cost-effective flood defence

For the second winter running the UK has been hit by widespread flooding, accompanied by agonised debates over whether government is really committed to adequate spending on flood defence. Largely overlooked…
Swings and roundabouts: sea level rises are hard to predict. Danny Lawson/PA

Saving coastlines from flooding is an uncertain science

Coastal and river flooding struck Britain again this week with huge waves hitting southern and western coasts and around 100 flood warnings still in place by Wednesday evening. Disturbing but, sadly, not…
Tacloban City in the Philippines. Troclaire

2013: the year in extreme weather

It seems every year has seen weather extremes in recent times. After 2012 brought Hurricane Sandy to the east coast of the United States and the wettest year ever for England, many may have expected a…
Is the government’s scheme already in deep water? Steve Parsons/PA

Government flood insurance plan is already treading water

The government’s long-awaited plans on how to help the insurance industry provide flood insurance to those homes and properties most at risk was presented. They are promising, but have fundamental shortcomings…
Firefighters have plenty of ideas about disaster management - so why don’t we listen? AAP/Dan Himbrechts

What firefighters say about climate change

You do not find many climate change sceptics on the end of [fire] hoses anymore… They are dealing with increasing numbers of fires, increasing rainfall events, increasing storm events. – A senior Victorian…
Yesterday’s early start to the bushfire season threatened homes in Sydney’s suburbs. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Fire and flood: how home insurance can help us adapt to climate change

Australia is a harsh and volatile environment, subject to extremes of fire and flood. We’ve just seen a particularly early start to the bushfire season, with over 60 fires burning and at least two homes…
Wrexham, like this driver, is ill-prepared for floods and other climate change-related problems. Matt Price/Flickr

How ready for climate change is your town or city?

More than half the world’s population now lives in cities or urban areas, which means our vulnerability to the impacts of climate change is tied up with cities’ ability to cope. Responsible for more than…
The lights are on and no one gut hurt. Roozbeh Rokni

Rain check: how Toronto escaped flooding disaster

For almost sixty years Hurricane Hazel has stood as the most extreme storm on recorded in City of Toronto but this week, on July 8th, a new record was set. A series of storms hit the city late in the afternoon…
Passau, Germany under record flood waters. But who will pay for the clean up? Steve Parsons/PA

Governments shirk their responsibilities in the name of ‘resilience’

The 21st century appears to be one riven by shocks - whether terrorist, financial or climatic. In the aftermath, institutions, people, and societies more generally are frequently encouraged to be more…
Australia is hanging on to flood mitigation measures that other countries have left behind. AAP Image/Pamela Blackburn

Three major floods, four reviews, but still lessons to learn

The last few years provided plenty of data to help us reform our approach to floods. With devastating flooding in Queensland and Victoria in 2011 and 2013, we should have learned a great deal about which…

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