Flooding outlook - Friday 21 February

  21 February 2020

The weather across the country remains unsettled over the weekend and into next week, with wind and rain affecting most of western and central Scotland.

Rivers are high in many areas and the ground is saturated with standing water on many fields and roads. This means that the rain we are seeing will keep rivers high, and will cause them to rise in response to the rain. While we expect to see flooding of low-lying land and roads and travel disruption is likely in known trouble spots, the rivers are not expected to cause widespread flooding.  

SEPA has regional Flood Alerts and local Flood Warnings in place across Scotland, and it is likely more will be issued throughout the day as river levels rise.

A team of expert staff from SEPA will closely monitor river levels and rainfall throughout the weekend and issue Flood Warnings as required.

Strong winds could cause some spray and wave overtopping along the west coast and Northern Isles, particularly Orkney, around periods of high tide. The astronomical tides are not as high as a few weeks ago, and we are not expecting the same level of impacts coastal areas experienced during Storms Ciara and Dennis.

There are indications that the beginning of next week will remain unsettled. SEPA and the Met Office work in partnership and coordinate daily to a focussed overview of the flooding risk across Scotland from river, surface and coastal flooding.

The latest forecasts and observations are combined with local expertise from all regions of Scotland to understand and present the flooding risk. Updates will be provided as we receive further information.

Staying informed

While widespread flooding is not expected, it is important that people are aware of the situation in their local areas, and through areas they may be travelling through.

All SEPA’s Alerts and Warnings are available on our website at floodline.sepa.org.uk/floodupdates/ or by calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188.

Floodline is always the most up-to-date information – with any new flood updates available as soon as they are issued.

You can also sign up to receive these messages to your phone, for free. You can call Floodline or register online at floodline.sepa.org.uk/floodingsignup/

Be prepared and stay safe

  • Check Floodline - visit sepa.org.uk/floodupdates or call 0345 988 1188
  • 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.
  • On the road or on public transport we can expect difficult conditions.
  • Drive with care, and do not travel through deep fast flowing water. It only takes 30sm 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.

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.