Topic Videos

Topic Video for AQA GCSE Geography: Somerset Levels Flooding (Weather Hazards 12)


Last updated 29 Apr 2024

This topic video looks at the case study of the Somerset Levels Floods which is a popular case study for the UK extreme weather event. We explore the factors that led to such extensive flooding, the social, economic and environmental impacts of the flooding, along with the immediate and long-term responses used to help the people affected.

It is part of the AQA GCSE Geography course - Paper 1: Unit A - The Challenge of Natural Hazards.

  1. Introduction to Somerset Levels Floods:
    • The video is a revision resource for AQA GCSE Geography, specifically focusing on the Somerset Levels floods.
    • The floods occurred in January and February 2014, marking one of the worst incidents of flooding in recent years.
  2. Geographical Context:
    • Somerset is in South West England, characterized by low-lying farmland and wetlands known as the Somerset Levels and Moors.
    • The area is bordered by the Bristol Channel, Quantock Hills to the west, and Mendip Hills to the north.
  3. Factors Leading to the Flooding:
    • The floods were triggered by the wettest January on record, with 35 centimeters of rain falling in January and February—10 centimeters more than average.
    • High tides clashed with storm surges, blocking fresh water from reaching the sea, and local rivers, not dredged for over 20 years, had reduced capacity.
  4. Impacts of the Flooding:
    • Social impacts included over 600 houses flooded, 16 farms evacuated, and villages cut off, leading to significant disruptions in daily life.
    • Economic impacts estimated at over £10 million, affecting farming, trade, and infrastructure.
    • Environmental impacts involved contaminated floodwaters with sewage and pollutants, requiring extensive cleanup.
  5. Responses and Mitigation Measures:
    • Immediate responses included evacuations, temporary accommodations, and support from volunteers.
    • Long-term responses involved a £20 million flood action plan, including dredging rivers, raising road levels, installing flood defenses, and strengthening Riverbanks to mitigate future risks.

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