Saturday, September 06, 2008

In the deep end

I am just watching the news coverage of the consequences of the last few days heavy weather.

My ears pricked up at a report from Tenbury Wells which, it seems, suffered badly. But, and taking the media's rather spectacular way of quoting things into account, it seems the mood there is 'why were we not warned?'.

Contrast this with my situation. Here in Ross-on (and, at times -in) -Wye we are not unfamiliar with the perils of flooding. Nothing as bad (yet and, fingers crossed, ever) as others around, but it can get quite hairy.

So I was perturbed, and took quite seriously the message on my mobile and complementary email that arrived soon after to tell me that we were up for a serious flood and I should take all measures and hit the high ground. I even called the Environemnt Agency to ask what was meant by that. The chap said that it meant what I said. So I called BBC Hereford & Worcester. A nice lady there said she didn't know as they just read out what the EA gave 'em, but a lot of folk like me were calling up to ask the same thing.

Thing is, 18 hours later... nada. Well, a puddle. As I look out the window not even the lake on the footy pitch between my house and the Wye, which is a regular feature of swollen rivers in the frequent past.

Now, I am all for 'better safe than sorry', but I have to now question the value of all these systems. On the one had they either didn't work or didn't apply where they were needed... and frankly were a more than a little OTT where they patently were not... at last this time.

I just have a nasty sense of a box being ticked and backside being covered. If our house had been hit then smug smiles all round. No actual help, but I couldn't say I hadn't been told. But inasmuch as I paid little heed this time, with reason, I fear my faith in the next means its value may be even more reduced.

I guess it is difficult, but the sheer level of inaccuracy seems astounding to me in this day and age (this is not where Gustav may make landfall; this is the progress of a surge down a river valley of about 20 miles in length that could have had me evacuating my family overnight), and I have to wonder how much is ploughed into looking like stuff is being done vs. actually doing things. In this day and age, why am I not surprised?

Addendum - Mon 9, 10am - Interestingly, having been warned Friday, if have just been advised that there is no longer any concern. Thing is, as I look out my window the waters are about as high as they have been so far.

Times - Bad building, not heavy rain, made these houses flood

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