After more than two months of torrential downpour and high velocity winds, we are eagerly awaiting the news of when the bad weather will come to a close. Many people across the UK have already had their homes flooded as well as encountering severe travel delays due to overflowing rivers or fallen down trees... but the bad news is that there's much more to come.
Chatting about the weather is no longer considered small talk, as the powerful storms and persistent rain are a growing concern for many. January 2014 in the South East of England was recorded as the wettest month in history since the record-keeping began more than 100 years ago.
Combine this with the upcoming half term holiday and it's beginning to look like the trip accommodation you booked is looking less and less appealing. Although if you booked a foreign package holiday does come with some advantages, such as ATOL licensing, for added protection should things go wrong. However it's a little more difficult if you've booked a holiday cottage rental or a home exchange. The property itself may have incurred some damage due to the wet and windy weather, but it is up to the owner to inform you of what has happened - although do not rely on this completely. If you suspect that the area you are travelling to, whether it is in the UK or not, has been affected by the floods then you should get in touch with the owner as soon as possible to confirm if the property will still be usable.
What should I do if my holiday is affected by flooding?
Unfortunately some holidaymakers end up arriving at their destination accommodation to find that the property has been damaged by the flooding. You may be entitled to a refund in these kinds of situations if the carpets are wet or if the property leaks, however a wet lawn or fallen tree may not be sufficient enough. The key is to collect clear evidence of the damage and explain this clearly and reasonably to the owner.
To avoid these kinds of situations and you give you added peace of mind, always check the small print carefully when making your booking in the first instance to see what kind of assistance would be available to you in the case of bad weather. Whether the property is flood-ridden and you are offered a refund or an alternative place stay, it is always a good idea to know your options.
So why has the weather been so bad?
The constant wet weather has been caused by a series of deep low pressure in the air combined with jet stream. Jet stream is the term used to describe the wind that blows across the Atlantic from west to east - it both steers and feeds off of the storm. (It is normal for this to be stronger in the winter months than it is in summer). Together with a patch of high pressure across the Atlantic Ocean, the air rotates clockwise and therefore drags the colder air from the Arctic over places like England and North America. The direction of the wind reverses roughly every 14 months and causes the chilly and wet weather... So now you know!
To summarize, if you find that your holiday accommodation is badly affected by the storms make sure you have taken photographic evidence, have all correspondence in writing, read the small print and conditions when booking, and always have an adequate level of cancellation and curtailment travel insurance cover in place.
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