Are you prepared for heavy rain and floods

October 13, 2014

According to the Environment Agency (EA), the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Northern Ireland’s Rivers Agency, there are over 5 million properties in the United Kingdom at risk for flooding. Forecasting floods largely depends on the type and nature of the events that trigger them, such as when and where a storm will hit or how much rain it will bring. Short periods of intense rainfall can create flash floods, in which the rain falls so fast that the underlying ground cannot drain it away fast enough. Roads can become like rivers and sweep away cars, and buildings can be flooded. These are particularly dangerous as there is very little warning between the rain falling and the flash flood occurring. Longer periods of heavy, widespread rain and storm surges can cause coastal flooding.

Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live or work, but especially if you live or work in low-lying areas, near bodies of water or downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, creeks or low-lying ground that appears harmless in dry weather can flood.

Met Office Flood Warnings

The United Kingdom’s National Weather Service, the Met Office, provides up-to-date weather advisories and warns the public of severe or hazardous weather through its National Severe Weather Warning Service. Warnings are given a colour (Green, Yellow, Amber or Red) based on the combination of both the likelihood of the severe weather event occurring and the impact the weather conditions may have. Make sure you check your local weather forecast to find out whether the Met Office has released any warnings for your area. You can also find the latest warnings at You can also get advice and information 24 hours a day from the EA, SEPA and local authorities during flood emergencies by calling Floodline at 0845 988 1188 for England, Scotland and Wales, or the Northern Ireland flooding incident line at 0300 2000 100.

The Met Office provides the following examples of what to expect during heavy rains and floods.

Very Low Threat (Green)

Low Threat (Yellow)

Medium Threat (Amber)

High Threat (Red)


If the Met Office issues a warning for heavy rain and flooding in your location, make sure you are prepared. Use the following tips and hints to help ensure your safety if heavy rains and flooding are prevalent.

Before a Flood
What would you do if your property or business were flooded? Are you prepared? Even if you feel you are in an area with a low risk of flooding, remember that anywhere it rains, it can flood. Just because you haven’t experienced a flood in the past doesn’t mean you won’t in the future. Flood risk isn’t just based on history; it is also based on a number of factors, including rainfall, topography, flood-control measures, river-flow and tidal-surge data and changes due to new construction and development.

Flood maps have been created to show the flood risk for your community. For more information about your flood risk and to view flood maps for your area, visit these websites:

To prepare for a flood, you should:

During a Flood

If a flood is likely in your area:

After a Flood

Although floodwaters may be down in some areas, many dangers still exist. Here are some things to remember:

Staying Healthy

A flood can cause physical hazards and emotional stress. You need to look after yourself and those around you as you focus on clean-up and repair.


Stay safe when severe weather strikes by being prepared and checking weather forecasts and warnings.

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