There is clearly a considerable volume of water locked up in the extensive snow cover which, in many cases, is overlying frozen ground and has the potential to contribute to flooding. The pattern of thaw will depend very much on the weather at the end of the present cold spell.
Thursday (14th January) will see a continuation of the low temperatures and further light rain or snow, and therefore the flood risk during the next 12 - 24 hours remains low.
Current indications from the Met Office are that during Friday and Saturday temperatures will rise and hence the snow will melt at a faster rate than seen over recent days. In some areas, particularly in the South and West of the country, the thaw will be accompanied by a spell of heavy rainfall (with snow on high ground). This has the potential to cause localised flooding which may be exacerbated by frozen ground and residual ice blocking the free drainage of surface water. However, at this stage there is no indication of widespread flooding as river and reservoir levels currently remain generally low throughout the country.
SEPA monitors rainfall and river levels around the clock, using this information to update the SEPA website with flood alerts as appropriate. This information can be accessed through SEPA’s live flood updates and also via 0845 988 1188. SEPA encourages anyone concerned about the possibility of flooding to use these sources of information and ensure they are prepared and have plans in place should there be any issues.