METEOROLOGISTS have complained over the lack of warning ahead of devastating floods on Canvey.
Essex Weather Centre has lodged a formal complaint with the Met Office criticising them for not letting all the official bodies know earlier of the torrential rain forecast for the island.
A power cut hit the island on Sunday, July 20, as one million cubic metres of water fell on Canvey in two hours on Sunday, July 20 – described by the Environment Agency as almost the full capacity of Wembley Stadium.
The Met Office usually puts out amber and red warnings to prepare residents and authorities for anything from floods to tornadoes to give them as much time as possible to prepare.
Tom Defty, of the Essex Weather Centre, said he lodged a complaint with the Met Office after residents told him they were not prepared for the floods.
He said: “There was clear evidence a convergence line would be established the afternoon of the floods.
“Local authorities had no specific warnings so the manpower and equipment wasn’t ready.
“We are very dissatisfied with the Met Office’s response to our complaint over warnings and flood risk to local authorities.
“We will now pass the files over to MP Rebecca Harris.”
Hundreds of homes were flooded across Canvey, with firefighters receiving more than 400 calls to help.
Several pumps also failed on the day of the floods.
Mr Defty added the Essex Weather Centre was warning about the possibility of flooding on Canvey on Twitter and on its website the day before the storm hit.
He said he hoped his complaint will be followed up by Mrs Harris as part of the top investigation she has launched over what went wrong that day.
A £700,000 survey of Canvey’s drains is set to take place.
Failures at some of the island’s pumping stations were caused by power cuts, the sheer amount of water and water not being able to reach the pumps ,according to the Environment Agency.
Anglian Water say the volume of water meant the pipes could not cope.
A survey of the island’s drainage system will take place this week, funded by the Environment Agency, Anglian Water, Essex Highways and Castle Point Council.
Antony Innes, from Anglian Water, said: “Regrettably, the sheer amount of rain which fell in Canvey on July 20, overwhelmed the drainage systems and despite as much water passing through these drains as possible, they were unable to keep up.
“This survey will take several weeks to complete.” but will help us to collaboratively address the problems for the long-term future.”
THE Met Office put out a national severe weather warning three days before the storm hit Canvey.
A spokeswoman said they particularly highlighted the south east and eastern region as most likely to face disruption and localised flooding on Sunday, July 20.
She said: “We have a network of advisers around the UK who work with regional local planning groups plan to prepare for severe weather.
“We were in regular contact with the local authorities in the region throughout that week and weekend to ensure they were aware of how the situation was developing .”
However, Mr Defty said by making it a national weather warning, local authorities in south Essex would not have paid as much attention as they would have done had it been a more localised warning.
He said: “Ppeople will pay much more attention if it is localised.”