Rain warning: Two-fifths of London businesses at risk of flash flooding – New study | Science | New

Parts of London already experience flash flood following thunderstorms this week – including Kings Cross and Kentish Town – with more rain expected over the next few days and weeks. A study by insurance company Zurich UK found that flooding from torrential rains could reach 42% of the capital’s 301,000 commercial buildings. At the same time, almost half of London’s 33,200 commercial basements are at risk of flooding.

Paul Redington, from Zurich UK, said: “Floods are now a serious threat to homes and businesses in the capital, especially after the severe heat wave we have experienced in recent weeks.

“More frequent and severe thunderstorms could be the new normal for years to come.

“Companies will have to adapt.

“Companies need to assess their risks and have plans in place to respond if they are affected.”

According to the research, the London borough with the highest percentage of commercial buildings at risk of flash flooding is Kensington and Chelsea (at 63%).

This is followed by Hammersmith and Fulham (56%), Merton (54%), Southwark (also 54%) and Wandswotth (53%).

Zurich said: “As the climate crisis brings more frequent and extreme weather, Zurich is now providing a free surface water flood warning system to its public sector customers.

“The solution – designed to build public sector resilience – provides warnings for insured properties at risk of impending flooding, as well as providing local authorities with a new district flood warning service for roads and parks.”

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Zurich also offered five tips for business owners on how to protect themselves against flooding events in the future – many of which also apply to households – starting with checking their flood risk.

They said: “Whether you’ve operated from the same location for years or have recently moved in, assess the long-term flood risk in your area and sign up for flood warnings.”

Then, they said, it’s important to take steps to make your business more flood-resistant.

This, experts explained, could start with simple steps like moving expensive equipment to higher floors and backing up data regularly.

More elaborate preparations could include repositioning power outlets to higher locations and investing in so-called backwater valves to prevent sewers from backing up.

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Along the same lines, Zurich’s next recommendation is that residents of flood prone areas create a flood plan containing key information such as the location of the power outage and a list of actions to take if a flooding is imminent – such as moving stock or computer servers.

Business owners should also consider climate shocks such as flooding in their business continuity plan.

Zurich said, “Having a plan in place can help you prepare for the unexpected and keep your business going in the event of a disaster.”

Likewise, their latest advice is that companies conduct a risk assessment to determine how future climate change could impact business operations.

Zurich said: “The more you know about risk, the better you can prepare.”

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