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WSP warns of flooding risk from melting snow

Consultant WSP has warned that the UK could face flooding as the snow that has covered the country melts.

Engineers at WSP have warned that 200mm of snow produces up to 50mm of water. A two hour melt would produce water equivalent to a 25mm/hour rainfall. Severe flooding in south Devon in December 2012 was caused by 25mm of rain over 24 hours.

WSP technical director and flooding specialist Hamish Hall said: “We have seen melting snow cause major flooding in the past so even though temperature rises and heavy rainfall of the kind necessary to cause rapid flooding are not imminently forecast, those in worst affected areas should be aware of the risk and be prepared.

“A more immediate concern is domestic flooding due to broken pipes. When water freezes it expands, bursting pipes that supply water to homes. When the thaw comes, the broken pipes can cause costly property flooding.”

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