22 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. This is part of a natural cycle which occurs every 19 years due to the astronomical alignment of the Earth, moon and sun. These have had 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 of flooding to vulnerable coastal areas.
"SEPA has therefore been keeping a very close eye on the wind and waves over the next few days to assess if this combined effect will occur.
"From early afternoon on Sunday, Monday and into Tuesday the forecast is for the winds to change to a more south westerly direction and pick up in speed, causing the risk of flooding to increase along the west coast and the north east coast. Over this period, 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 we are expecting flooding in vulnerable coastal locations around the Firth of Clyde, for example Dumbarton, Gourock, Renfrew, Helensburgh, Largs and Tarbert. We have issued warnings to the public and emergency responders for these locations.
"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.”