SEPA seeks feedback on new three-day flood forecast

  12 May 2022
The three-day Scottish Flood Forecast is the biggest change to our flood warning service since it began in 2011 and will provide more advance notice to at-risk communities and businesses.

Members of the public are being asked for their feedback on a new Scottish Flood Forecast, which will give communities an indication of where flooding is likely to occur in Scotland up to three days in advance.

A digital, colour coded map has been developed to show potential flood risks for the three days following the publication date of the map, and whether the source of flooding is from the sea, rivers or from surface water. It will describe the potential impacts of flooding and link to advice and information on what protective action people can take if required. The map will also provide reassurance to communities when significant flooding is not expected.

The forecast will be produced every morning, 365 days a year, and published on SEPA’s website. It is an additional tool for the public to use alongside the current Floodline service, which issues shorter notice regional flood alerts and local flood warnings to those signed up, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Scottish Flood Forecasting Service, a partnership between the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Met Office, has created the new Scottish Flood Forecast following extensive user research. It involved the public, community flood groups, emergency responders, partner organisations and SEPA and Met Office employees. The findings identified a need for flood information to be provided earlier, in a simple and clear way, and the ability to check when no flooding is expected.

The new national service can be viewed online from Thursday 12 May 2022 and is the first step on the journey to providing communities with improved flood information. Feedback from the public will be gathered to inform the next steps and refine the design. The forecast is expected to be finalised and launched later this year.

Pascal Lardet, Flood Warning Unit Manager at SEPA, said: “More extreme weather and rising sea levels due to climate change mean we have to learn to live with flooding. It’s vital communities are supported to safely prepare for the potential impacts as early as possible. Thanks to this new product and the extra notice it offers, they’ll have the best chance to reduce the risk of damage and disruption.

“The three-day Scottish Flood Forecast is the biggest change to our flood warning service since it began in 2011. We have listened to customers to ensure we are creating a product that will help them prepare for flooding at the earliest opportunity. We will continue to engage and capture customer feedback during the initial pilot period before launching the final version of the Scottish Flood Forecast expected later this year. I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Scottish Flood Forum and the communities at risk of flooding who have already helped to develop this service so far.”

Mark Gibbs, Head of Environment and Energy at the Met Office said: “We have worked in partnership with SEPA to develop the Scottish Flood Forecast which embodies our ethos at the Met Office to help people stay safe and thrive.  This is becoming increasingly challenging as climate change impacts threaten to affect communities across Scotland and the risks from flooding increase.  The Met Office are continually working on improvements to forecasting which feed into the Scottish Flood Forecast. 

“During this pilot period we look forward to hearing the views and opinions from communities throughout Scotland to create an improved final version.”

The Scottish Flood Forecast will be available and tested on www.sepa.org.uk/scottishfloodforecast. A link will be available on this page for members of the public to submit any feedback.  

ENDS

 

Notes to editor

  • AUDIO with Pascal Lardet, Flood Warning Unit Manager at SEPA, is available to download from our media centre here. No registration is required to access the file.
  • SEPA’s flooding role is to support communities to avoid flood risk where they can, protect where they cannot and act when warned of flooding. We:
    • Provide Scotland’s flood forecasting and warning service.
    • Are the strategic flood risk management authority.
    • Are a statutory consultee and key agency in the planning process.
    • Regulate the safety of Scotland’s reservoirs.
  • The Scottish Flood Forecasting Service is a strategic partnership between the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Met Office. Together, they combine hydrological and meteorological information, so that both organisations can share their expertise to improve the accuracy of flood forecasts for the whole of Scotland.
  • SEPA collects data from its network of over 650 rainfall, river and coastal monitoring stations throughout Scotland generated 24 hours a day. This hydrological information is combined with meteorological information from the Met Office, which our team of experts use to predict the likelihood and timing of river, coastal and surface water flooding.
  • SEPA and Met Office also work together to produce a daily, national flood guidance statement issued to Civil Contingencies Category 1 and 2 agencies, such as emergency responders, local authorities and other organisations with flooding management duties. Each daily statement gives an assessment of the risk of flooding for the next five days and provides organisations with valuable time to put preparations in place to reduce the impact of flooding.
  • The partnership between SEPA and the Met Office also directly helps those using SEPA’s Floodline service, by providing more specific information allowing SEPA to issue more timely flood warnings and give people a better chance of reducing the impact of flooding on their home or business.
  • Floodline provides live flooding information and advice on how to prepare for or cope with the impacts of flooding 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Sign up and get notified when the area you live, work or travel through is at risk of flooding.