Home Your Town Council News Climate Emergency Extreme weather causes flash flooding and damage for Buckingham

Extreme weather causes flash flooding and damage for Buckingham

Ahead of Sunday’s predicted thunderstorms and after Monday’s flash floods the Town Council is asking residents to check their flood defences, restock if necessary and make sure they are prepared for future flooding.

On Monday 12th June 2023 Buckingham experienced an extreme downpour of rain along with thunder, lightning, strong winds and hailstones causing flash flooding and damaging homes, trees, roads and businesses. Due to the huge volume of rain that fell in a very short period, several homes and businesses experienced flooding from roofs or gutters, or from surface water flash flooding entering through doors, walls and overwhelmed drains. Large trees and branches blocked roads and pathways and damaged vehicles. Water pressure damaged roads and surrounding drains, leaving gaping holes and sections of loose tarmac.

The Buckingham Community Flood Plan aims to inform and support residents before, during and after a flooding event. This meant that, on Monday afternoon, (despite almost no prior warning), as soon as Town Council officers were aware that flooding was possible, they sprang into action to monitor the river and other likely flooding sites.

As the incident rapidly progressed, they visited businesses and homes they knew had been flooded, to offer support. They also reported fallen trees and road damage to Buckinghamshire Council.

Many Town Council staff stayed on duty through the early evening to phone vulnerable residents living in flood areas, including homes on Meadway and Nelson Street, to check if they had been affected and if they needed any assistance. They also answered the phone to those asking for help or for advice and concerned about further flooding.  Luckily none of the vulnerable residents the Council contacted had experienced any flooding and all were safe.

A message was shared across Town Council social media platforms encouraging people to check on their neighbours and drive slowly in affected areas. The Council also started an incident log of issues that happened in the town, and shared information with Buckinghamshire Council’s emergency team and the emergency services.

Most houses close to the river were able to deploy their flood defences in time, which saved them from flood damage, though some still suffered flooding due to vehicles driving through deep water and creating bow waves higher than the flood defences. The Council strongly reminds people that they should not enter flood water, and that if it is absolutely necessary to drive through shallow flood water they should drive slowly and with care, remembering that their bow waves are directly affecting someone’s home.

The Council also sustained flooding or damage of its own buildings, trees and facilities and the green spaces and external facilities staff are working to make repairs and return to normal activities as soon as possible.

The nature of flash flooding means that it is very difficult to predict, and an amber warning was only received moments before the downpour began. However, as the Town Council maintains a log of vulnerable residents living in flood-prone homes the Council was able to contact them and check that they were safe very quickly.

The Council also contacted the volunteer flood wardens to keep them updated of the situation but did not deploy them as there would not have been time for them to reach any properties before the flooding began. The volume of water that fell in a short period of time can be seen in the river level gauge, which shows in the few short hours after the flooding receded and the water beginning to drain into the river, the river level rose 40cm.

The likelihood of flash flooding has increased due to the climate emergency, and as well as being so fast to form that you may not have much advanced warning, it can also affect homes not normally affected by river flooding. Now is a good time to review your flood defences, and to consider if you and your neighbours are ready and prepared to help each other if flash flooding happens.

There is more information about how to prepare for future floods, including flash flooding on the town council website.

Cllr. Anja Schafer, Mayor of Buckingham said “I want to thank our Town Council officers and members of the Green Spaces Team, who worked well into the evening to make sure nobody was in danger from the incredible amount of water that came down on Buckingham in a very short space of time. I’d also like to thank those residents and businesses who went out to help their neighbours or stayed open late to ensure everyone could access the supplies they needed. My thoughts go to all those whose property was damaged by rain or flood water.”

16 June 2023
Last Updated
16 June 2023