Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Watching the waters

The flooding of significant parts of southern England has continued and in some places is now worse than ever. The West Country and the Severn valley have been in difficulties since early January. In the last couple of weeks the Thames has risen to record levels and some of the most desirable (or they were, up until recently) towns in the country are under water. At first glance the areas affected seem the wrong ones - the upper Thames from its source to Oxford is ok, even though these areas often flood even in reasonable times, and there are no flood warnings of any sort below Richmond. But in between, where the river itself is not particularly wide, the waters have risen sharply and are pushing up groundwater. It is almost as if the Thames is itself acting as a barrier to the water and is protecting central London.

There is no danger in beautiful Ruislip although our own dear River Pinn is overflowing onto its flood plain (if one can call a few soggy strips of open meadow and woodland that) downstream where it meets the Colne at Uxbridge; and there have been warnings where the Colne itself meets the Thames not much farther on. Some back gardens that back on to the rivers are under water. This morning the warnings were removed but there is a lot more rain on the way.

Will these unheard-of wet conditions favour the amphibian population? In the past couple of years the frogs have ceased to come to our little pond - fifteen years ago we might have had a dozen taking up residence during the mating season - and this is part of a national crisis. We shall know in a few weeks.

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