Storm Ciara flooding outlook 8 - 10 February 2020

  07 February 2020

Storm Ciara will bring strong winds, creating tidal surges and high waves over the weekend.

The combination of high tides and sustained winds will create an unusual and dangerous combination of tide, storm surge and inshore waves, similar to the impacts felt during Storm Brendan last month. There is a risk of coastal flooding to communities, roads, and rail routes in almost all of Scotland’s coastal areas over the course of Saturday through to Monday.

We are placing a particular focus on communities around the coasts of Dumfries and Galloway, Caithness and Orkney, particularly around high tide. The first significant high water will occur late on Saturday night along the Solway coast.

These conditions can be dangerous. The period of greatest risk is around high tides. SEPA will be issuing Flood Alerts for affected areas, which will include high tide timings. Once issued, these will be published at

It is likely that regional Flood Alerts and local Flood Warnings will also be issued for parts of southern Scotland that will receive the heaviest of the rainfall overnight Saturday and throughout Sunday resulting in potential flooding from rivers and small watercourses as well as surface water flooding.

Heavy rain is also forecast for Saturday, especially in the south. This could bring a risk of river and surface water flooding, so it is quite a wild and wet weekend in many places.

SEPA is working 24/7 to monitor rainfall, river and coastal levels, and is in close contact with the Met Office and other partners to review the forecasts.

Stay informed

We encourage members of the public to remain vigilant and follow the advice of emergency services.

Be aware of the most up-to-date Alerts and Warnings via our website and Floodline on 0345 988 1188.

The most up-to-date flood messages are always available on SEPA’s website and via our Floodline service on 0345 988 1188.

You can sign up to have flood updates for your area sent to your phone for free. Sign up on our website at or call Floodline any time on 0345 988 1188.

People can report and check flooding impacts in their area using Report-a-Flood at

Advice on how to be prepared for flooding, for your home, business and travel is available from

What are Flood Alerts and Flood Warnings?

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.