Monday, July 28, 2014

Return of the floods

It's been a terrific summer, at least for the last month or so. Temperatures up in the high 20s for day after day. Last week Mrs. Commuter and I were touring round the wonderful scenery of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire, visiting ancient manor houses and well-preserved medieval towns. We came back to a sun-drenched London. But it all changed this morning.

The weather forecasts had been hinting at rain for today but it was always going to be "light showers". Well, what we got this morning was another deluge reminiscent of the scenes at the start of this year and all the lower lying regions of beautiful Ruislip flooded. How much rain exactly? The Evening Standard reported 42mm in Northolt (a mile south), whilst a local website based in Pinner ( a mile east) only reported 4mm. So it was amazingly localised. I therefore estimate that about 25mm (or an inch, in old money) fell around here, in an hour. There are some amazing pictures on the local online newspaper and the BBC. This one says it all - that water-filled gully, looking uncannily like the storm drains in Los Angeles - is the six lane highway we call the A40 - the main road between London and Oxford - and the same route that we took a few days ago on our little westward jaunt.

And whilst the roads were in chaos (our cleaner drove in as usual from Hayes, a 20 minute journey, that took her 2 hours today) it was worse for rail commuters. The Met is in any case running special services for the next couple of weeks, with nothing between Ruislip and Uxbridge while they do maintenance but the section around Eastcote had water above the level of the rails so there was no train service at all in our part of the world during the rush hour commute. Trains are now running, fortunately for Mrs. Commuter who needs to get into inner London later.

As I write the clouds are gathering again and there are some ominous cumulo-nimbuses lining up overhead. Now where did I put my trusty old raincoat...

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