Fears melting snow could cause more flooding

The view looking down Ringstead Road in Burnham Market, which is next to Church Walk/B1155 closed by police. Photo taken...

The view looking down Ringstead Road in Burnham Market, which is next to Church Walk/B1155 closed by police. Photo taken on February 9 after the snowfalls of Storm Darcy. - Credit: Nina Plumbe

People hit by repeated floods over the last two months are being warned melting snow could trigger a repeat.

Record-breaking levels of rainfall in Norfolk over the past seven weeks have led to several areas in the county, including Burnham Market, contending with floods and overflowing manholes.

An Anglian Water tanker and engineering van on site at St Peter's Close in Yaxham

An Anglian Water tanker and engineering van on site at St Peter's Close in Yaxham - Credit: Yaxham Parish Council

In response to the flooding, Anglian Water has sent more than 100 tankers to the region and drafted in vehicles from as far away as Manchester to help cope with the record high groundwater and river levels.

Now, after December and January saw the most rainfall in the East of England for a century, the company is warning melting snow is likely to keep water levels high for some time to come.

A manhole at Burnham Market, with sewage visible bubbling up from underground. 

A manhole at Burnham Market, with sewage visible bubbling up from underground. - Credit: Supplied by Nina Plumbe

Jonathan Glerum, regional flood risk manager for Anglian Water, said:  “Following such persistent rainfall on already saturated ground, groundwater levels remain extremely high and it takes very little rain now to cause further flooding, especially in areas virtually at sea level.

“The flooding isn’t resulting from a specific issue in our sewers, this is climate change and extreme weather patterns in action. We all know that water will always find the lowest possible point to escape, and in this case, it’s inundating our network.

"The majority of our customers remain unaffected but we are seeing the impact in a handful of areas where the network has become overwhelmed by floodwater, despite our pumps and water recycling centres working as hard as they can," he said.

Cars make their way along a snow covered road

Anglian Water is warning snowmelt following the recent bad weather will add to flooding risks - Credit: PA


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Anglian Water has been working with the Environment Agency, to agree temporary permits which allow flood water to be pumped away from people’s homes into nearby rivers and ditches, providing they meet strict environmental and flood risk criteria. Several of these permits have already been granted across the north-Norfolk coast.

In light of the ongoing flood risk, Anglian Water has also issued the following advice for customers:

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  • Report any immediate emergency or danger to life to the emergency services
  • Report any issues with road drains, gullies and the maintenance of some smaller rivers and streams to Norfolk County Council.
  • Report any loss of toilet facilities or sewer blockages to Anglian Water via its call centre or website

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