Storm Babet bringing exceptional rainfall to Scotland

  19 October 2023
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) have begun issuing localised Flood Warnings as Storm Babet approaches.

Alerts and Warnings as at 21:05 - check for latest situation

  • 12 regional Flood Alerts
  • 15 localised Flood Warnings
  • 4 Severe Flood Warnings

Rain is already moving across the country, with flooding impacts expected to start this afternoon and into the early evening. The heaviest and most prolonged rainfall is expected over Aberdeen City, Dundee & Angus, Tayside, Aberdeenshire and Caithness & Sutherland, where some exceptional levels are forecast over the next 24 hours. 

Extensive river and surface water flooding is expected, with widespread impacts to transport and infrastructure. There is a risk of more significant community scale property flooding – and there will be danger to life. 

Other parts of Scotland are also at risk of flooding as rivers respond and drainage systems become overwhelmed. The risk of river flooding is exacerbated by the fact that many catchments are already saturated following recent heavy rainfall events. There is also concern that surface water flooding may be made worse by debris blocking drainage and culverts as a result of the high winds.

An additional band of rain is forecast to impact the east of the country on Saturday, which will prolong the event and keep rivers high. It is important people keep up to date by following weather information from the Met Office and flooding advice from SEPA.

Expert staff in SEPA’s flooding team are working round the clock to check forecasts and models, update Flood Alerts, issue Food Warnings and ensure that partners and responder agencies have the latest information. 

Pascal Lardet, SEPA Flood Duty Manager, said: 

“There is exceptional rainfall forecast for parts of Scotland over the next 24 hours, and this will lead to significant flooding from both surface water and rivers.

“Regional Flood Alerts were issued over the last two days to provide early awareness, and localised Flood Warnings started to be issued this morning. More will be issued across the day, so I do encourage people to check our Flood Updates for all the latest information. You can also follow @SEPAFlood on X. However, it is important to stress that not all areas that could be affected have Flood Warning schemes, so please do take a Flood Alert in your area as advance notice that you could be affected. 

“Follow the advice of the emergency services and take action now to protect yourself and your property. 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.