Scots should prepare for flooding as Storm Babet moves in

  16 October 2023
Scots are encouraged to start preparing now for potential flooding later in the week, with Storm Babet expected to bring heavy rain and strong winds from Wednesday evening.

The warning is particularly relevant for communities still recovering from flooding experienced over the weekend of 6th and 7th October – as rain is expected to affect similar areas in Argyll and Bute, Dumfries and Galloway, Tayside, Dundee & Angus and Grampian. It is important people keep up to date by following weather information from the Met Office and flooding advice from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), as areas may change as the forecast becomes clearer. 

Partners and responder agencies were alerted to the potential impacts on Sunday through SEPA’s Flood Guidance Statement and the agency will continue to work closely with them to share the latest information.  

Prepare now 

David Morgan, Flood Duty Manager for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), said: 

“Storm Babet will bring heavy rain and high winds across Scotland from Wednesday evening, starting in the South West before moving across to the North East through Thursday and into the weekend. 

“Impacts from surface water and rivers are likely, and with catchments saturated from recent heavy rain and flooding, we’re urging people to be prepared for potential flooding. There is also concern that surface water flooding may be exacerbated by debris blocking drainage, culverts, etc. as a result of the high winds. 

“Flood Alerts and Warnings will be issued as required, and we continue to work with the Met Office to monitor the situation 24/7. People can check our Flood Updates for all the latest information and the three-day Scottish Flood Forecast to see what conditions are expected further ahead. 

“If you live or work in an area that could be affected, consider any steps you need to take now to be prepared and stay safe, and to take extra care if you need to travel. 

“If you have not already signed up to Floodline, you can do so now to receive free updates for where you live, or travel through, directly to your phone. Follow SEPA’s social media, especially @SEPAflood on X for the latest information.” 

Met Office Deputy Chief Meteorologist, Steven Keates said:  

“Storm Babet will bring impactful rain to many parts of the UK, but especially parts of eastern Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England later this week. Heavy and persistent rain will fall onto already saturated ground bringing a risk of flooding. It is important to stay up to date with warnings from your local flood warning agency as well as the local authorities. 

“As well as heavy rain, Storm Babet will bring some very strong winds and large waves near some eastern coasts too. Gusts in excess of 60mph are possible in eastern and northern Scotland from Thursday. It is likely Met Office warnings will be updated through the week.” 

Be prepared and stay safe 

  • Check the latest advice on what to do to prepare for flooding at www.floodlinescotland.org.uk 
  • 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. 

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.