The December 2015 floods in the North of England come only two years after the December 2013 floods which inundated the Somerset levels and the Thames Valley. A Northern Newspaper emphasised the Northern regional nature of the current floods and said that the South had money spent on floods defenses while the North was deprived.
While it is true that London has the Thames Barrier this will not be a lot of help in a rainfall flood as it is designed to keep out sea water from storm driven high tides and cannot help control a rainfall flood. It does highlight the danger and cost from these exceptional rain storms which are becoming more frequent and shows that the threat from climate change cannot be accurately forecast or budgeted for.
The Thames has a huge drainage area and although it has always had floods the new situation puts the whole conurbation at risk and the potential cost to London is huge. If in an exceptional series of rainstorms totaling a hundred millimeters or so of rain fell within the Thames catchment area, it would overwhelm the current defenses and flood massive amounts of infrastructure.
The known risks from rainstorms is very high and recent events now show that they are becoming a reality. With the current frequency of rainstorms, it must be a question of 'when' rather than 'if' and this risk is becoming a reality in every country in the world. Politicians are not good at dealing with long term strategic planning because of the short term costs and unrecognized benefit but one good thing from the Paris COP21 agreement is that all the countries in the world have now recognized that climate change is a real threat.
Politicians who try to deny climate change and then suffer a disaster cannot survive in power.
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