Scotland faces far more flooding in the future due to climate change so the country has set up a new flood early warning system.
The Scottish Flood Forecast gives people three days of advance warning where flooding is likely to happen so people can prepare flood defences.
The flooding could be from surface water, rivers or the sea and the information will be updated every day on the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) website.
It has been developed with the Met Office and the Scottish Government’s Environment Minister, Mairi McAllan, said: “Flooding can cause utter devastation to people and communities as we saw again in several parts of the country in November and December last year.
“The impact of the climate emergency across the world and here in Scotland means that flooding will be more frequent. That is why it’s so important we increase community resilience and take action to manage flood risk.”
A company which provides anti-flood measures in Scotland and nationwide welcomed the 3-day notice but warned that flooding can happen anytime, anywhere so it’s best that people are always prepared for flooding.
Richard Bailey, managing director of Environmental Defence Systems Ltd which manufactures alternative sandbags called FloodSax, said: “Time really is of the essence when it comes to flooding and people should be aware that local councils have no responsibility to provide sandbags.
“So, although SEPA can give a three-day warning, people do need to have anti-flood measures always in place, especially in areas vulnerable to flooding.”
FloodSax are now widely used throughout the UK and the rest of the world as a far better alternative to traditional sandbags. They are space-saving to store, easy to deploy in minutes and more environmentally friendly which is why many local authorities prefer them to old-style sandbags.
South Lanarkshire Council says: “We do not normally provide sandbags in advance of a heavy rainfall event. If householders want to protect their property from flooding, sandbags or other protection measures are available from most builders’ merchants and DIY stores.”
Gail Walker is from the Tillicoultry, Devonside and Coalsnaughton Flood Group (Tideco), 40 miles north of Edinburgh, said: “Advance warning of flooding supports us to work out how we can best respond to weather events with the resources we have.
“Tillicoultry has a number of flooding issues and is a known flooding ‘hot spot’. While we have some flood defence measures in place, we still have areas that are vulnerable.
“The Scottish Flood Forecast is a useful trigger for the group to plan, prepare and to make sure volunteers are in areas where we know there is the potential for flooding. The key role of Tideco is to warn, inform and offer support to those at risk of flooding or who may have been impacted.”
The forecast is produced every morning, 365 days a year, and published on SEPA’s website. It’s something extra for people to use alongside the current Floodline service, which issues shorter notice Regional Flood Alerts and Local Flood Warnings to those signed up, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Scottish Flood Forecast is at https://scottishfloodforecast.sepa.org.uk/public