It was time the floods that have been affecting the rest of the country were about to affect us in London as well, as reported by local news in London yesterday.
At present the Thames catchment is completely saturated due to the continued rainfall which is producing very high river flows. When l got in touch with the Environment Agency, l was assured that it continues to ensure the rivers remain monitored for their levels and where necessary the Agency will be able to provide appropriate flood warnings to the public to safeguard themselves and their property.
What made this weekend even more unusual is that we also see a period of spring tides peaking at the weekend. That is the tidal pull of a full moon. So we have a double whammy with the high rainfall flows coming down the river combined with the spring tides coming up the river producing levels upstream in Teddington which puts property on islands such as Trowlock and Thames Ditton at risk. To safeguard these properties the Thames Barrier closed on two occasions on Thursday 27th December and in the early hours of today Friday 28th to prevent the tide from flowing into London and further increasing river levels.
Although the river flows are gradually reducing , the weather systems coming in over the weekend may see higher tide levels. The Environment Agency will continue to monitor the situation and if conditions require they will again close the Barrier. If you live in Thames Ditton or Trowlock islands, and want to be informed of the river levels please find the links within the names of the islands above.
So whilst there is no risk to areas in central London from tidal flooding, islands in the Thames like Thames Ditton on the boundary of Greater London and Trowlock in the Royal Borough of Richmond are certainly under threat this last weekend of 2012. But for the legacy of the old GLC in the form of the Thames Barrier, we would not be in a position to protect them from flooding from down stream on the Thames.