28 June 2012
The flash flooding and hailstorms across the Midlands today has caught out a lot of people
The AA alone attended around 100 cars driven through or stuck in flood water in the West Midlands by 14:00 on Thursday (28 June) and deployed its team of water rescue Land Rovers, AA Special Operations Response Team.
Darron Burness, the AA’s Head of Special Operations, says: “The flash flooding and hailstorms across the Midlands today has caught out a lot of people. The tragic case of a man swept away in Shropshire illustrates the dangers as it only takes as little as six inches of fast flowing water to knock you off your feet.”
With torrential downpours forecast for many other areas, the AA is advising drivers to keep their speed down, be watchful for standing water and not risk driving through flood water.
Darron Burness continues: “It’s often impossible to gauge the depth of flood water, so don’t even chance it. Not only do you risk wrecking your engine but there are often hidden dangers like dislodged manhole covers and other debris. Also, it takes only two feet of water to float a car.”
So far today (as at 12:00), the AA has received 97 flood water-related call-outs, mostly in Tyneside, and AA Insurance has received 55 motor insurance claims for flood and hailstone damage, representing more than half of all claims received so far today.
In total yesterday, the AA attended 358 cars driven through or stuck in flood water, the majority of them after 16:30 in Tyneside causing havoc on the evening commute.
Darron Burness, the AA’s Head of Special Operations, says: “Yesterday’s weather was crazy and, unfortunately, the severity of the flooding wasn’t forecast. Although the flood water has now receded, drivers should continue to look out for debris and silt on the road, as well as abandoned vehicles which may present a hazard.”
If your car is comprehensively insured, damage of this sort is covered by your policy, while damage to property should also be covered by buildings insurance
Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance
Over the space of half an hour at lunchtime on Thursday (28 June), AA Insurance received 29 claims for cars damaged by freak hail in and around Leicester.
Customers reported that hail stones the ‘size of golf balls’ battered their cars. One said his car was ‘covered in dimples’, another reported that his car had been ‘wrecked’ by ‘giant lumps of ice falling from the sky’ and all said that their cars were extensively damaged.
Often, damage of this sort results in the car having to be written off although such damaging hail is thankfully rare in the UK.
The severe weather locally also produced a tornado and torrential rain, causing damage and flooding to homes after drains and waterways were blocked by massive hailstones.
“If your car is comprehensively insured, damage of this sort is covered by your policy, while damage to property should also be covered by buildings insurance,” says Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance.
“We are seeing some freak weather conditions this year with floods, tornaodes and now hail.
“Hail can be particularly damaging and we are expecting dozens more claims today as customers return to their parked cars and find them ruined. Other insurers will be seeing a similar spike in claims.”
(29 June 2012)