Wainfleet Floods Case Study 2019
On Wednesday 12th June 2019 the River Steeping burst its banks causing flooding in and around Wainfleet, Lincolnshire. The River Steeping burst its banks after the equivalent of about two months’ rain fell in two days. The Steeping River breached river defences along the Wainfleet Relief channel, flooding around 130 properties, forcing 590 people out of their homes.
A 15-metre section of the flood bank collapsed, causing a significant amount of water to leave the river channel and flood Wainfleet.
Initially, some believed the breach in the river occurred as the result of badgers burrowing and weakening the river bank. However, according to an Environmental Agency spokesperson “The breach in this flood bank was not caused by badgers. The banks were put under extraordinary pressure because of the extreme amount of rainfall.”
Wainfleet Flood Map by the Environment Agency
Some residents of Wainfleet were not able to get insurance as the area is a flood plain.
The video below shows the area affected by the floods.
What are the impacts of the Wainfleet Floods?
- One farmer lost half his cross as 200 acres of one crop field was flooded
- 130 properties flooded
- 590 people forced out of their homes
- An animal park near Wainfleet was forced to close temporarily after being flooded
Immediate response to the Wainfleet Floods
Social media was used to inform people in the local area of the need to evacuate. Lincolnshire Police tweeted a map of the place where inhabitants should “self-evacuate” to friends, family or an emergency centre set up at a school in nearby Skegness.
More than 340 tonnes of ballast were dropped by RAF helicopters to shore up a breach in the levee of the River Steeping after it burst its banks.
Chinook helicopter dropping 1-tonne bags of ballast
Forces TV broadcast this footage of the RAF responding to the flood.
Ballast bags reinforcing the banks at Wainfleet
High volume pumps were used to remove flood water from the area. Twelve high-volume pumps were used to support Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service’s efforts to tackle flooding in Wainfleet. Six of these pumps are operational, and six are on standby in case the flood waters rise,
In addition to these two massive pumps were brought in by the Environment Agency. The high-volume pumps deployed at Wainfleet could pump five swimming pools’ worth of water away from the town every hour. The Environment Agency confirmed more than 225 Olympic-sized swimming pools’ worth of water was pumped out of flood-hit Wainfleet and into the sea in one night.
People in Lincolnshire were urged by the region’s water company to limit their use of showers, dishwashers and washing machines while the county was affected by flooding due to the strain on the sewerage system.
An emergency airspace restriction was placed over flood-hit Wainfleet and Thorpe Saint Peters – aimed at drone users to avoid mid-air collisions with RAF helicopters and the police helicopter that was used to monitor the floods.