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20 January 2021

Stormy weather ahead. Are you prepared?

According to the Met Office, Storm Christoph is set to bring widespread flooding to parts of England over the next three days. The Environment Agency says a combination of heavy rain and snowmelt is creating a volatile situation, with rain falling on already saturated ground and fast-flowing or deep flood water posing a danger to life and communities cut off by flooded roads. 16 flood warnings have been issued, along with a further 110 flood alerts.
 
With amber warnings in place across a huge swathe of the country, including Yorkshire, the North West, the East Midlands and the East of England, and the rest of the country on yellow alert until Thursday, we face some difficult conditions ahead, so please take steps to prepare while you have the time.
 
Flooding

If you receive a flood alert, pack valuables such as medicines and insurance documents in a bag that is ready to go. If you receive a flood warning, move valuables and precious possessions upstairs and be ready to turn off gas, electricity and water. If you receive a severe flood warning, which means you will be evacuated, listen out and take instruction from local emergency services. (Please note, in such circumstances, evacuation is allowed within the Government’s Covid rules.)

If you are flooded, don’t enter the property until you are certain the electricity has been turned off, and don’t use any electrical items.
 
Driving in heavy rain

Wet road conditions and reduced visibility are causing problems for drivers, with Highways England advising drivers to take extra care on motorways and major A roads, and RAC breakdown services advising motorists should only drive if absolutely necessary.
 
Storm checklist

With winter storms and extreme weather now very much the norm, we have compiled a basic checklist for you to follow, based on some of the most common claims we see during the winter months.
 
Gutters

Make sure guttering and drains are regularly maintained, clearing leaves, moss and debris so water can easily flow through. With increased rainfall, any blockages due to fallen leaves can cause serious problems for your drainage and sewer system, potentially causing damp problems inside and out or water entering the roof space.
 
Roofing

Check roofing regularly and ensure it is in good condition. Replace any loose or missing tiles to prevent rainwater entering the roof space, and also to prevent loose tiles dislodging and potentially causing injury or damage. Also check areas of flat roofing, ensuring they are professionally inspected and renewed, if necessary, to prevent rainwater entering your property.
 
Trees

Make sure large trees near to your premises are professionally maintained and pruned, and ensure any dead or loose branches are removed to prevent them causing damage in high winds.
 
External areas

Patios, decking and driveways prevent rainwater from draining away naturally, so check there are no areas where a heavy downpour could cause water to build up and flow towards your property.
 
Garden furniture

Store any free standing garden furniture, such as BBQs, tables, chairs and parasols, inside a garage, storeroom or shed, protecting them from being damaged by bad weather and preventing them from being stolen as the garden is used less frequently during the winter months.
 
Outdoor lighting

Check that outdoor lighting is in good working order, testing lights to ensure bulbs are working. If you don’t have outdoor lights, think about having them installed, as they provide useful lighting during dark morning and evenings, and help to deter thieves.
 
Chimneys

Have your chimney swept before you light the first fire of the season, to ensure there are no blockages. You should ideally do this once a year.
 
Central heating

Keep your central heating system and boiler regularly serviced and maintained by a professional fitter. Check the boiler pressure - depending on your boiler, it  should be around ‘one’. Bleed radiators to make sure there are no pockets of air trapped, which could cause the top of the radiator to be colder. Turn on your heating system for at least an hour a day.
 
Fire alarms

Check your smoke alarms are working. Although you should do this around the year, it’s particularly important now if you have a wood burner or open fire.
 
Frozen pipes

Know where your stopcock is located so in the event your pipes freeze and potentially burst, you can turn off the water preventing damage to your property.
 
Obviously, prevention is better than cure. So, try to make sure all those essential property maintenance chores are done before the bad weather hits and hopefully avoid having to make an insurance claim. In the event that you do need to make a claim or wish to discuss your household or commercial property insurance, we assure you of receiving our prompt attention, whatever your situation. Please call us on 0116 265 4300 or email [email protected]
 
Source:
BBC: Storm Christoph: Flood warnings in parts of England