21 February 2015
Vincent Fitzsimons, Duty Hydrology Manager for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) said:
Scotland has experienced some unusually high spring tides over the past few days and these will continue into Sunday. This is part of a natural cycle which occurs every 19 years due to the astronomical alignment of the Earth, moon and sun. This has the effect of raising normal spring tide levels by only a few inches, but if low atmospheric pressure and strong winds are added to the mix then the combined effect results in an increased risk to vulnerable coastal areas. This means that SEPA is continuing to keep a very close eye on the wind and waves over the next few days to assess if this combined effect will occur.
"During Saturday, there is a risk of localised flooding at high tide times around coastal areas in the east including the Moray coast. However, because winds are not strong on Saturday, the risk of community-scale flooding is very low.
"From Sunday, Monday and into Tuesday the forecast is for the winds to change and pick up in speed, causing the risk of flooding to increase and the focus will switch to the west coast and the north east coast. There is a likelihood of local scale impacts due to wave overtopping at high tide times along exposed parts of these coasts. In addition, from Sunday lunchtime through to Tuesday lunchtime there is the potential for some more significant community-scale disruption at high tide times in the Firth of Clyde area. Currently there is some uncertainty in specific locations and impacts, therefore SEPA will continue to monitor the situation and reassess risks to take account of changing weather and sea conditions over the course of the weekend. We will update emergency responders and the public as more information becomes available.
"We would encourage members of the public to remain vigilant and be mindful of the conditions in their locality and when travelling. The latest updates are available on our website and you can also sign up on our website to receive flood alerts and warnings updates direct to your phone, for free. Do remember that not every area in Scotland is covered by a local flood warning scheme, if there is a regional flood alert out for your area you should prepare for possible flooding.”