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Comment: Floods are a real drain on our towns
WE British have always had a fascination with the weather.
Phrases like ‘good morning’ in our polite English street greetings are invariably followed by ‘nice day isn’t it?’, ‘bit cold’, ‘wish this rain would stop’ or some other weather-related comment.
We study forecasts avidly and TV goes into enormous detail each night with a national weatherperson followed quickly by a regional figure going through the same stuff again in detail.
Then there are those 24-hour digital news channels where meteorologists wave their arms across whole continents and use phrases like ‘some parts of South America will experience a good deal of rain tomorrow but others can look forward to sunny spells’.
I’ve often wondered if the people of Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Peru (to name a few) learn anything from these generalisations.
Anyway my point is that here in the UK our interest is probably justified since our small country contains more contrasting weather patterns than many nations ten times its size.
In short we’re interested because we get a lot of it – and in the past few years we’ve had more than a lot.
There have been a couple of the coldest winters on record with the sort of temperatures that they’re used to on the Russian Steppes. We’ve also had droughts and then doubts about droughts as we are drenched by huge amounts of rain.
Last month, we are now told, was the wettest June recorded.
We do go out equipped with enough clothes, shoes and brollies to survive any of the four seasons – or all of them – within a 24-hour period.
But the ability of our infrastructure to cope is a different matter.
Trains slide on wet leaves, there are no gritters when it’s icy and many workplaces become ovens after a few sunny days.
Now in the past couple of weeks we’ve had several examples of monsoon-like rain.
Within minutes houses get flooded and roads become impassable because the water cannot drain away fast enough.
We shouldn’t be crippled by such events. Plenty of far-poorer countries than ours manage.
Rather than just throwing our hands in the air why don’t we build comparatively simple open storm drains alongside roads where there’s likely to be a problem – just like they do in other parts of the world.
Oh I forgot.
The health and safety brigade would be up in arms and leave councils terrified of a flood of damages claims from people who don’t look where they are going and fall in!
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