Flooding Outlook - Thursday 5 January 2023

  05 January 2023

High winds, heavy rain and snow melt on Thursday, 5 January, into Friday, 6 January, are likely to cause localised disruption due to coastal wave overtopping, surface water and river flooding.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Scotland’s flood forecasting and warning authority, is urging people to keep updated, be mindful of potential disruption, and plan ahead for any travel.

In coastal areas, windy conditions particularly around high tides could also lead to spray and overtopping. Localised Flood Warnings have been issued for parts of Orkney and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, where large waves and strong winds could create impacts such as flooding of causeways, promenades, and roads.  

Rainfall, combined with melting snow, is likely to see minor river and surface water flooding, across much of Scotland. Regional Flood Alerts are in place and, whilst peak river levels are expected to be well below those experienced last week, given the saturated nature of the ground, minor disruption is likely on some transport routes with isolated property flooding in places.

SEPA continues to monitor the situation and will issue further flood messages as required. People are encouraged to sign up to the Floodline service to receive updates for where they live, or where they’re travelling through, directly to their phone. People can also check Flood Updates – SEPA Floodline for all the latest updates.

Staying informed

Be prepared and stay safe

  • Check Floodline – visit floodline.sepa.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.