What to do in a Yellow and Amber Weather Warning of Thunderstorms

 Find information and advice about how to stay safe in a flood. In an emergency where you are at serious risk from flooding and in danger, please contact the emergency […]

Published on 17/08/2022 in News

 Find information and advice about how to stay safe in a flood.

In an emergency where you are at serious risk from flooding and in danger, please contact the emergency services on 999. 

If you consider yourself to be vulnerable or in any way at risk – or if you know someone who is and needs help because of flooding, then please contact the Council for assistance on 020 8770 5000. 

If flooding occurs to your road and/or property, you can contact the Council on 020 8770 5000. 

If you are a social housing tenant and your home is flooded please contact your housing association. If you’re unable to contact your housing association then please contact the Council for assistance with temporary accommodation on 020 8770 5000. We will help you find temporary accommodation if required.

If you rent or own your own home you should contact your insurance company and report the flooding. Depending on the level of building insurance possessed, your insurer may be able to provide you with temporary accommodation while they process your claim to repair the damage. If you do not possess this level of cover, contact the Council for assistance with temporary accommodation on 020 8770 5000.

What to do if you are experiencing flooding in your home

  1. Check in with other people in your household – if they are not at home make sure they are somewhere safe.
  2. Gather essential items together either upstairs or in a high place.
  3. Fill jugs and saucepans with clean water.
  4. Move your family and pets upstairs, or to a high place with a means of escape.
  5. Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies when flood water is about to enter your home if safe to do so. DO NOT touch sources of electricity when standing in flood water.
  6. Keep listening to local radio for updates or call Floodline on 0800 807060  
  7. Check in with vulnerable neighbours or relatives.
  8. Flood water can rise quickly, stay calm and reassure those around you. Call 999 if you are in danger.
  9. Stay safe, always listen to the advice of the emergency services and evacuate if told to do so.

Guidance from the MET Office: How to stay safe in Thunder and Lightning

Before the thunderstorm

  • Lightning can cause power surges, unplug any non-essential appliances if not already using a surge protector.
  • Seek shelter if possible. When you hear thunder you are already within range of where the next ground flash may occur, lightning can strike as far as 10 miles away from the centre of a storm.

During the thunderstorm

  • Telephone lines can conduct electricity so try to avoid using the landline, unless in an emergency
  • If outside avoid water and find a low-lying open place that is a safe distance from trees, poles or metal objects
  • Avoid activities such as golf, rod fishing or boating on a lake
  • Be aware of metal objects that can conduct or attract lightning, including golf clubs, golf buggies, fishing rods, umbrellas, motorbikes, bicycles, wheelchairs, mobility scooters, pushchairs, wire fencing and rails. If you are in a tent, try to stay away from the metal poles
  • If you find yourself in an exposed location it may be advisable to squat close to the ground, with hands on knees and with head tucked between them. Try to touch as little of the ground with your body as possible, do not lie down on the ground
  • If you feel your hair stand on end, drop to the above position immediately

After the thunderstorm

  • Avoid downed power lines or broken cables
  • If someone is struck by lightning, they often suffer severe burns. The strike also affects the heart, so check if they have a pulse.

Driving in a thunderstorm

If you are caught out in thunder and lightning it is advised that you wind up the windows and stay inside your car. This is because in the vast majority of cars with a metal roof and frame, the frame will act as a conductive Faraday cage, passing the current around the passengers inside and on to the ground.

  • Soft-top convertibles, with their fabric roofs, are the most at risk and could catch fire if struck by lightning
  • Be aware that current can travel through other parts of many modern cars, including GPS and radio systems. Cars with metal interior handles, foot pedals and steering wheels can also carry current
  • Cars can be damaged both internally and externally by lightning strikes

Thunderstorms can also bring a risk of sudden gusty winds, those most at risk would include cyclists, motorcyclists and high sided vehicles.

  • Remember to give vulnerable road users including cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians more room than usual. They are more likely to be blown around by side winds – always keep a safe distance.
  • Keep your speed down, lowering your speed will lower the distance you travel when buffeted around by the wind.

Hail storms can be extremely dangerous to drive in reducing your ability to see and be seen, as well as causing damage to your vehicle. If hail is severe, stop and pull over to a safe place and remain inside the vehicle

Guidance from the MET Office: Protecting property from flooding

If flooding is on a road or pavement

In many cases, especially during storm events, it is found that the public sewers are unable to cope with the amount of water generated by the storm, which means that the water is unable to drain away through our gullies.

In such instances, it is recommended that you and any neighbours who have been similarly affected contact Thames Water on 0800 316 9800 (24 hour service) advising them of the situation. You should provide them with as much detail as possible, supplying date(s) and details of how you were flooded and ask them to ensure that these incidents are logged onto their “flooding history database” as this will contribute to the possibility of an improvement in the sewer system.  

If you identify that a gully may be blocked, you can report this to the Council here.

The highway drainage systems (gullies) are not designed to cope with heavy storms, so ‘flooding’ of the highway is expected during a storm event but this will go down over time.

To report flooding to the Council after the flood event or historic cases of flooding, please report this here.

Reporting other sources of flooding

Below are contact details for partners for you to contact, depending on the source of flooding and impacts being experienced:

  • Flooding from public sewer: Thames Water, 080 0316 9800
  • Flooding from a burst water main: Sutton and East Surrey Water, 017 3777 2000 – they’re responsible up to and including the stopcock.
  • Flooding from a blocked drain on private property: The homeowner or landlord is responsible and would need to engage the services of a plumber / drainage professional. 
  • Flooding from a burst riverbank: Environment Agency, 037 0850 6506 – They’re responsible for the main rivers, including the River Wandle.

Depending on the impacts being experienced, below are some helpful contacts: 

  • Loss of electricity/power cut: UK Power Networks, Tel: 105
  • Loss of gas/gas leak: National Grid, 080 0111 999
  • Loss of safe drinking water: Sutton and Surrey East Water, 017 3777 2000; or Thames Water, 080 0316 9800 (see who supplies your drinking water here). 
  • Damage to buildings and trees: Sutton Council, 020 8770 5000.
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