Flooding Outlook - 28 July

  28 July 2021

David Faichney, SEPA's Duty Flooding Manager said:

“As expected, parts of the country have experienced extreme rainfall over the last 24 hours or so, with one site near Dundee experiencing more rainfall in three hours last night than what it would normally see in the whole of an average July.

“More heavy rainfall is likely to come this afternoon and into Thursday. While impacts have been felt around the country already, the areas most likely to be worst affected later today are Findhorn, Moray, Nairn and Speyside, Easter Ross and the Great Glen, Wester Ross and parts of Caithness and Sutherland – although other areas could see heavy rainfall too.

“Due to the nature of thundery showers, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where will be worst hit, but what we do know is that it can happen quickly and can be highly localised.

“It’s important that those out and about, holidaying, engaging in activities near rivers and streams or out hillwalking are aware of the hazards and stay safe. Some rivers and streams can rise to dangerous levels very quickly, so avoid camping near water and be very mindful of conditions if considering activities such as swimming or canoeing. 

“16 regional Flood Alerts and 3 Flood Warnings have been issued, and people living and working in affected areas are advised to plan their journeys and consider the steps they need to take now to be prepared, including keeping flood protection products, like sandbags, in place in high risk areas. You can stay up to date with regional Flood Alerts and local Flood Warnings at sepa.org.uk/floodupdates.

“Extreme weather such as prolonged heavy rain following a period of warm, dry weather, is something we will see more of as our climate changes and these patterns become more common in the future.

“SEPA is working 24/7 to monitor rainfall and river levels and is in close contact with the Met Office and other partners to review the forecasts, which are combined with local expertise from all regions of Scotland to understand and present the flooding risk. We would encourage the public to remain vigilant, especially in isolated, low lying agricultural areas susceptible to flooding. The most up-to-date information is always available on our website.”


  • Thunderstorms can cause very intense and localised torrential downpours, with potential dangerous flash flooding impacts.
  • It is very hard to predict where exactly impacts may be experienced; it can also happen suddenly, so it is important you are prepared and remain vigilant.
  • It is your responsibility to take action to protect yourselves and your property against flooding, for information on how to prepare visit, www.floodlinescotland.org.uk.
  • Be careful on the roads. Spray and sudden flooding can lead to difficult driving conditions. You should not drive through flood water.

Staying informed

  • All SEPA’s Alerts and Warnings are available on our website at sepa.org.uk/floodupdates
  • Floodline is always the most up-to-date information – with any new flood updates available as soon as they are issued.
  • Advice on what you can do to prepare for flooding can be found at floodlinescotland.org.uk

Be prepared and stay safe

  • Check Floodline – visit sepa.org.uk/floodupdates
  • 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 are walking beside rivers be extra careful of wet footpaths and possibly small watercourses in spate.
  • Please 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.

Notes to editors

  • Rainfall and river levels data are available to SEPA internally but cannot be exported automatically to the web pages to share with the public at the moment as a result of the cyber-attack. Our teams are working as quickly as possible to restore wider services, including public access to river level data, and we’ll continue to provide weekly updates on the status of our services at sepa.org.uk/servicestatus.
  • For the latest information on the Cyber Attack please visit – Cyber attack | Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)