A staggering 45 postcodes in Central Lancashire are considered to be at high risk of flooding by insurers, according to new figures.
Hundreds of homeowners and businesses in Preston, South Ribble and Chorley could be finding it more expensive - or even impossible - to get cover in areas with a PR address.
One garage boss near the River Ribble told the Post she had been unable to get any insurance - even though the business has never had a flood in 50 years.
And a car wash company in Lower Penwortham faces a policy excess of almost £5,000 if the river ever bursts its banks.
“That’s expensive, although we’ve never know the water to come over the top,” said Danny McLaughlin, owner of Pristine Car Wash and Valeting Centre on Leyland Road.
The figures, sourced from Environment Agency statistics, show that one in 18 of all PR postcodes are tagged as at risk of flooding.
Of the 839 postcodes, a further 158 are judged to be at medium risk, with 623 rated low and just 13 as very low.
The largest number of high risk addresses (14) are in PR2 areas, mainly around Preston’s dock estate and neighbouring Ashton.
Across the UK it is estimated there are around 5.2m properties - one in six - at significant risk of flooding. More than half of those are unaware they live in an area which could be inundated during a storm.
The Environment Agency says it is investing a record £2.6bn to better protect the nation from flooding, including more than 1,500 flood defence schemes to benefit 300,000 homes by 2021.
This year the Agency is spending £10.5m to maintain flood defences in Lancashire and Cumbria. And already new flood defences are protecting more than 23,000 homes in the two counties.
Work is also scheduled to begin soon in Preston and South Ribble on a scheme to protect more than 3,000 residential and 600 commercial properties.
Yet for all the work going on, homes and businesses are still have to pay a premium if they happen to be located in one of the postcodes deemed to be at risk.
“It seems very harsh, because they have never been to see me and asked if we have ever been flooded,” said Carol Ann Ainsworth, owner of the Mini Centre in Riverside, near Broadgate, Preston. It just seems like it’s done on a postcode basis because we’re near the river.”
Lancashire recently set up a new task group to investigate whether the county could could be better protected from flooding.
Its chairman, County Coun Erica Lewis, said its aim would be to bring together up to 40 local flood action groups which are currently working individually in their own areas.
Coun Lewis said locals had “valuable knowledge” which could be pooled to combat the threat. But an increase in exceptional weather episodes meant flooding could no longer be considered a rare event.
Postcodes at risk
Of the 839 different PR postcodes, 45 are deemed to be high risk for flooding. They are:
PR1 8JR, PR1 9UD, PR1 9XR
PR2 2EF, PR2 2GB, PR2 2XB, PR2 2XD, PR2 2XE, PR2 2XF, PR2 2YD, PR2 2YF, PR2 2YX, PR2 2YY, PR2 2YZ, PR2 2ZB, PR2 5LR, PR2 8UT.
PR25 1DA, PR25 2TB.
PR3 1GB, PR3 1UY, PR3 2GR, PR2 3YL, PR3 6HH.
PR4 1TX, PR4 5JP, PR4 5LA, PR4 5YH, PR4 5ZL.
PR5 0AG, PR5 0UB, PR5 4AN.
PR6 9AS, PR6 9FG, PR6 9FJ, PR6 9FL.
PR7 6EJ, PR7 6LZ.
PR9 8ES, PR9 8EX, PR9 8FY, PR9 8GU, PR9 8HA, PR9 8HD.
Villages left under water by storms
The UK might be on the brink of a mini heatwave, but thoughts are never far from the windstorm season which still has a good month to run.
So far this winter only five storms have hit the North West - only half the number which battered the UK last year.
Storms Ali, Bronagh, Callum, Deirdre and Erik have all come and gone without much ado in the so-called flood hotspots in PR postcodes.
And if the unseasonally warm weather sticks around until well into March, there is a chance the next in line, Storm Freya, might not materialise and Lancashire could escape for another season.
At this time last year the Beast From The East was baring its teeth across the UK, putting off an outbreak of Spring until much later than normal. But, with temperatures expected to touch the late teens - 15C higher than the average for this time of year - the threat of flooding could be subsiding.
The worst storm season in recent memory - the winter of 2015/16 - caused widespread devastation across Lancashire and Cumbria.
Yet, with villages like Croston, Whalley and St Michael’s under feet of water and hundreds of residents driven from their homes, many of the PR postcodes identified as high risk escaped relatively unscathed.