Thawing and flooding - update 3

  15 January 2010

There is 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. Although the thaw of lying snow has been ongoing for the past two days it is expected to continue for several days yet and this, in combination with spells of heavy rainfall, is likely to result in river levels rising significantly in many areas over the next 24 to 48 hours.

Today (Friday 15 January) will see a band of rain (and hill snow) cross Scotland with temperatures continuing to rise, hence there will be an acceleration in the rate of thaw of lying snow in many areas. The heaviest rainfall will be over Dumfries and Galloway, the Borders and Southern Highlands and this, in combination with the snow melt, is likely to result in a rise in river levels, especially across the south of Scotland. However, at this stage there is no indication of widespread flooding as river and reservoir levels currently remain generally low throughout the country.

Current indications from the Met Office indicate a further spell of heavy rain moving across Scotland overnight Friday and into Saturday, again the worst affected areas will be those same areas mentioned previously. With the continuation of the thaw of lying snow river levels are likely to continue rising in many areas.

Throughout the next 24 - 48 hours there remains the potential risk of localised flooding which may be exacerbated by frozen ground and residual ice blocking the free drainage of surface water.

SEPA is also monitoring high water levels around the West coast of Scotland associated with high tides and storm surge conditions. There is the portential for localised coastal flooding during the high tides tomorrow morning (Saturday 16 January) in these areas.

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.