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London ‘at risk’ of flash flooding after UK heatwave

Sadik Khan said he was “seriously concerned” that London could experience severe flash flooding after the long spell of dry weather, with the capital “unprepared” for the heavy rains that could still come.

On Friday, a drought was officially declared in London and parts of southern England after nearly a month without rain in parts.

While rain is forecast in London next week, the dry ground absorbs water more slowly, raising fears that the capital will face flash floods.

Last year thousands of homes were damaged and London’s transport network faced major disruption when heavy rain caused widespread flooding.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service on Friday, the Mayor of London said he feared we could see a repeat in the coming weeks.

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Khan said: “Just over a year ago we saw flash flooding in London which affected homes, businesses and tube stations. I’m really worried that we could see extremely hot weather followed by very short periods of massive rain.

“We saw last year, I think, two months of rain in two hours. So, I don’t think we can ever be prepared for that, because we’re a city that’s not used to that level of rain in a short period of time. And, again, this is one of the consequences of climate change that we have to recognize. These are things that happen much more regularly than before.

Following last year’s floods, the Mayor convened a roundtable of key stakeholders, including Thames Water, London’s fire service and local councils, to discuss how London’s response to the floods could be improved.

While Khan said policymakers “learned many lessons” from last year’s flash floods, he warned that London “is not ready” to deal with similar extreme weather events on a regular basis.

He said: ‘We are coordinating with the councils what we would do if that [flooding] was going to happen, but let’s face it, a city like London is not ready for the consequences of climate change and we have to prepare for it. That’s why we’re doing what we can, but we also need the government to be on our side. »

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