Scotland urged to remain vigilant and stay safe across the weekend as flooding impacts continue

  21 October 2023
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) are urging communities across Scotland to remain vigilant and stay safe across the weekend, as further heavy rain and strong winds will continue to bring challenging conditions to communities. Met Office weather warnings remain in place across the day.

Alerts and Warnings as at 18:00 - check for latest situation 

  • 7 regional Flood Alerts  
  • 17 localised Flood Warnings  
  • 0 Severe Flood Warnings  

Parts of Scotland are still in the midst of dealing with severe flooding impacts and SEPA’s focus remains on helping communities and responders manage this weather event. Significant impacts are ongoing in Dundee, Angus and south Aberdeenshire, particularly in communities along the North and South Esk. Heavy rain today will also affect Moray and Caithness which will bring river and surface water flooding. 

While rain eased yesterday afternoon in the most affected areas, allowing some rivers to peak and fall a little, it did return overnight and will continue throughout today (Saturday). This will result in rising river levels and continued risk until Sunday morning in some places.  

  • Caithness and Sutherland – river levels will respond during Saturday and are expected to be higher than on Friday with significant disruption likely.  
  • Moray - river levels along the lower Spey will be higher than Friday, peaking at similar levels to those experienced on the 8th/9th October with some disruption expected, including around Spey Bay.  
  • North Aberdeenshire - rivers will peak at similar or slightly higher levels than on Friday, with disruption likely.  
  • Aberdeenshire / Aberdeen - rivers will peak during Saturday at similar levels to Friday, impacts are likely to be similar to those already experienced.  
  • Tayside, Dundee and Central – river levels are expected to remain high today with any ongoing flooding disruption likely to continue. However, levels will not rise to those seen in the past couple of days and will start to fall from Sunday onwards.  

Expert staff in SEPA’s flooding team continue to work round the clock to check forecasts and models, update Regional Flood Alerts, issue Local Flood Warnings and ensure that partners and responder agencies have the latest information. Rivers are being monitored 24/7 for potential impacts and SEPA will update Flood Warnings as required.  

It is important people keep up to date by following weather information from the Met Office, checking flooding information from SEPA and following the advice of the emergency services.  

Vincent Fitzsimons, SEPA’s Flood Duty Manager, said: 

“Across the last few days, Scottish communities have experienced another serious and significant severe weather event, and today’s rain will prolong flooding impacts and cause additional disruption. Our staff have been monitoring weather forecasts, river levels and flood forecasting models 24/7 to provide information to communities and partner agencies – and will continue to do so throughout the weekend. 

“Flood Warnings will be updated across the day as required, so I do encourage people to check our Flood Updates for all the latest information. You can also follow @SEPAFlood on X for advice and information.    

“We’ve still got extremely high flows on the larger rivers round Dundee, Angus, Tayside and South Aberdeenshire - particular the North Esk, South Esk, Dee and Don. In addition, some of the heaviest and most prolonged rain today will be in Caithness and Sutherland. There are many places where flooding still remains, particularly near rivers and where surface water has collected on roads, and it’s really important people understand the danger.

"It is important to stress that not all areas that could be affected have formal Flood Warning schemes, so please do take a Flood Alert in your area as advance notice that you could be affected. Communities can still get vital information from SEPA’s Alerts, on SEPA’s website and from the emergency services.  

“Follow the advice of the emergency services and don’t put yourself at risk. Hazards can be hidden, so please don’t walk or drive into flood water. Remember that not only is flood water likely to be dirty, 30 cm of fast flowing water can move an average family sized car, and just 15 cm of fast flowing water could be enough to knock you off your feet.”   

SEPA continue to work with the Met Office to monitor the situation 24/7. As well as live information at Flood Updates, people can check the three-day Scottish Flood Forecast to see what conditions are expected further ahead.    



Be prepared   

  • Check the Scottish Flood Forecast ( - developed in partnership with the Met Office it 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.     
  • Sign up to Floodline and receive free flood messages letting you know when the area where you live, work or travel through is at risk of flooding.   
  • Create a flood plan which includes knowing how to shut off your gas, water and electricity supplies.   
  • Consider installing flood protection at your home.   

Stay safe   

  • Follow the advice of emergency responders, including evacuation.  
  • Don’t walk through flood water – 15cm of fast flowing water could be enough to knock you off your feet and hazards can be hidden under the water.     
  • Drive with care, and do not travel through deep fast flowing water. It only takes 30cm of fast flowing water to move an average family sized car.     
  • If you’re walking beside rivers be extra careful of wet footpaths and small watercourses.     
  • Consider deploying flooding protection products if required.   

Stay informed    

What’s the difference between a Flood Alert and a Flood Warning?     

  • We use forecast weather information provided by the Met Office combined with our own observation of rainfall and river levels and advanced hydrological modelling to provide advance warning of flooding.     
  • Regional Flood Alerts are early advice that flooding is possible across a wider geographical area. The purpose of the Alerts is to make people aware of the risk of flooding and be prepared. We normally issue them 12 to 24 hours in advance of the possibility of flooding.     
  • Flood Warnings are more locally specific and are issued for areas where we have gauges on rivers to measure the exact river height. They are issued at shorter notice when we are more certain that a specific area will be affected.