Communities across Scotland will be able to prepare and take action sooner to protect themselves from flooding as a new three-day Scottish Flood Forecast launches.
Developed by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Met Office, the Scottish Flood Forecast provides the earliest indication possible of when and where flooding is expected over the next three days, and whether the source is from rivers, surface water or the sea.
In addition, the colour coded map on SEPA’s website describes the potential impacts on communities and links to advice and information on what protective action people can take if required. It also offers reassurance when significant flooding is not expected.
The Scottish Flood Forecast was developed following extensive research involving the public, community flood groups, emergency responders, partner organisations and both SEPA and Met Office employees. Feedback from more than 200 users was also gathered during a trial phase from May last year.
Gail Walker is from the Tillicoultry, Devonside and Coalsnaughton Flood Group (Tideco):
“The Scottish Flood Forecast is an important information source for Tideco. Advance warning of flooding supports us to work out how we can best respond to weather events with the resources we have.
“Tillicoultry has a number of flooding issues and is a known flooding ‘hot spot’. This can include surface water and sewage flooding within residential streets, as well as flooding from the Tillicoultry Burn and the River Devon, which both have a history of having flooded out homes in the past. Whilst we have some flood defence measures in place, we still have areas that are vulnerable.
“The Scottish Flood Forecast is a useful trigger for the group to plan, prepare and to make sure volunteers are in areas where we know there is the potential for flooding. The key role of Tideco is to warn, inform and offer support to those at risk of flooding or who may have been impacted.”
The forecast is produced every morning, 365 days a year, and published on SEPA’s website. It is an additional tool for the public to use alongside the current Floodline service, which issues shorter notice Regional Flood Alerts and Local Flood Warnings to those signed up, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Environment Minister Mairi McAllan said:
“Flooding can cause utter devastation to people and communities, as we saw again in several parts of the country in November and December last year.
“The impact of the climate emergency, across the world and here in Scotland, means that flooding will be more frequent. That is why it’s so important that we increase community resilience and take action to manage flood risk.
“The Scottish Flood Forecast will give people a three day look ahead to help make plans for travel and ensure safety and is a product of the excellent partnership working between SEPA and the Met Office.
“This new three-day forecast is a helpful addition to the other important services, such as Floodline, that the Scottish Flood Forecasting Service provides.”
Nicole Paterson, SEPA Chief Executive, added:
“The Scottish Flood Forecast is a significant step in helping communities across the country build resilience, especially as climate change brings more extreme weather to Scotland. We recently experienced damaging impacts from flooding in Aberdeenshire and Angus in November and Dumfries and Galloway in December. In Dumfries in particular, levels at the River Nith were the highest ever recorded.
“The forecast is also the biggest change to SEPA’s flood warning service in the last decade. While it currently displays information at a national level, work will continue on the forecast to gradually introduce localised information.”
Ian Cameron, Met Office Markets Director, said:
“Every day the Met Office and SEPA teams work in close partnership to publish the Scottish Flood Forecast, providing guidance to the flood forecasting team at the Scottish Flood Forecasting Service (SFFS) with the latest weather information. Working together in the SFFS Partnership enables the Met Office and SEPA to achieve more together and create a more resilient environment.”
The Scottish Flood Forecast can be viewed at www.sepa.org.uk/scottishfloodforecast.