Somerset Council is warning residents to be prepared for possible disruption from high winds and flash flooding overnight tonight and into tomorrow (Thursday), as Storm Ciaran pushes across the South West.
Winds of up to 70mph are forecast for much of the county, particularly coastal areas, through much of tomorrow, bringing the risk of flying debris, falling trees and power cuts.
Somerset Council is preparing for the storm with 20 crews of tree surgeons on standby tonight and tomorrow and planned roadworks are being put on hold to allow more staff to respond to emergencies.
Council teams are also on standby for any clear-up duties and to help vulnerable people across Somerset and anyone affected by flooding.
Residents are encouraged to monitor Met Office forecasts and flood warnings, and homeowners in flood risk areas are advised to consider taking suitable precautions.
The timing of rainfall, high tides and already-saturated farmland, means there is a risk of localised flooding which could affect roads and potentially homes.
Parents are encouraged to check school websites or the Council’s School closures webpage and look out for text messages in the morning in case any schools have had to close.
Recycling and refuse collections are scheduled to take place as usual. Any collections disrupted by severe weather will be returned for as soon as possible.
The nine recycling sites due to open tomorrow are planning to open as usual, though local managers will close them if there are any safety concerns for staff or public. Please check @somersetwaste on Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) for the latest updates.
What to do
Anyone who needs support can call 0300 123 2224 and choose option 1 during office hours.
Preparing for potential flooding
Thinking ahead and preparing for what the weather may bring can make a real difference to homes, businesses and communities. One of the first things is to check whether a property is at risk of flooding.
Somerset Council recommends taking precautions and buying sandbags in case of emergencies. If sandbags are not available, the following can be used:
- rolled-up mats or carpets
- bags of garden compost
- pillowcases filled with soil (don’t overfill them)
- timber boards (possibly screwed to door frames, sealed with mastic)
Flooding and roads – key information
Heavy rain and flooding present a danger to drivers – road users are urged not to attempt to drive across flooded roads as it is not possible to estimate the depth of the water reliably.
It is vital to prepare for wet conditions. Motorists are urged to drive with extreme caution. If caught in floods there is information and advice on Somerset Road Safety’s Adverse weather conditions webpage.
For drain and gully problems, or any issue on the highway report it easily and quickly via the Council’s Report a problem on the road. webpage.
What to do during a flood
There is information on what to do during a flood on Somerset Prepared’s Flooding webpage. In an immediate flood emergency or where there is a risk to life, follow the advice of the emergency services.
What to do after a flood
- Assume floodwater has been contaminated with sewage and avoid contact wherever possible. For further health advice when dealing with flood affected areas visit the UKHSA’s Flooding guidance and advice webpage.
- For advice on cleaning preparation areas after a flood visit the Food Standards Agency’s Food safety after a flood webpage.
- Follow Electrical Safety First’s safety advice before switching back on.
- Contact your insurer if you haven’t already and let them know the situation. They will advise of the next steps to take in restoring homes and belongings.
- Reporting when a property has flooded helps the Council investigate why the flood has occurred and helps us look for possible methods to mitigate the risk of it happening again in the future.
- Use the South West Information Management (SWIM) website to update flood records/record recent flooding.
Looking after mental health
Heavy rainfall may trigger feelings of anxiety, fear or worry, particularly for those who have been previously affected by flooding. Here are some ways to help reduce any feelings of anxiety caused by heavy rainfall and the activation of local flood defences:
- Talk to somebody about how you are feeling, if you don’t feel able to talk to friends or family you can call Mindline – Somerset’s emotional support and mental health helpline which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 01823 276 892 (local) 0800 138 1692 (freephone).
- Try and do activities that help you to feel less stressed like exercising, reading, listening to music, or meditating.
- Help neighbours and others in your community, look out for each other.
- Follow normal routine as much as possible.
- Visit the Every Mind Matters website where you can find lots of tips and exercises to help manage anxiety.
- Stay up to date on weather information and warnings via GOV.UK’s Check for flooding webpage.