People who live in areas of Yorkshire at high risk of flooding have been urged to sign up for a new flood warning service.
The Environment Agency has set up the scheme which is part of a national one to help people in danger of flooding get sufficient warnings if flooding is predicted.
The new flood warnings cover 2,557 properties in Yorkshire and will see a warning message issued when flooding is forecast and then again to warn users if it’s likely it will actually happen.
People can register for the new service for free and choose to receive notifications via phone call or text.
The warnings tell people about the risk of flooding to their home or business and helps them to make decisions about how to respond. There are three types of warning – Flood Alert, Flood Warning and Severe Flood Warning.
People are encouraged to prepare if they receive a Flood Alert which could mean packing a bag that includes medicines, insurance documents and anything else they wouldn’t want to lose if flooding happened.
A Flood Warning calls on people to act straightaway which means turning off gas, water and electricity and moving family and pets to safety.
A Severe Flood Warning means people are in immediate danger and to follow advice from the emergency services.
The update to the Yorkshire service comes as 110,000 additional homes and businesses across the country are now eligible to receive the new flood warnings following a major effort to ensure all properties at high risk of flooding can receive them.
New technology means many properties previously considered too remote, rural or difficult to warn of flooding can now sign up for the service.
Graham Lindsey, flood resilience team leader at the Environment Agency, said: “We know the devastating impact that flooding can have which is why protecting people and communities is our top priority.
“These warnings are there to help people prepare for and become more resilient to flooding incidents and this new service will allow them to take appropriate action when flooding is forecast.
“We would encourage all of those in these new flood warning areas to sign up for our free warnings for both their safety and peace of mind.”
Environmental Defence Systems based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, manufacture an alternative sandbag called a FloodSax which is used all over the world.
Space-saving to store yet quick and easy to deploy they can be used inside to soak up internal floods but once fully immersed in water the gelling polymer inside them absorbs and retains the water, transforming them into instant sandless sandbags.
Lucy Bailey from EDS said: “It’s great people in areas that are vulnerable to flooding get the early warnings but it’s also vital to have flood protection measures stored inside your home or business so you are prepared for flooding no matter when it happens.
“Local councils have no responsibility to provide sandbags and sandbags have shown to be poor at stopping flooding and also harm the environment.
“Imagine if the flooding happens in the middle of the night or on a weekend or bank holiday and trying to suddenly buy anti-flood devices. It’s best to be always prepared because floodwater causes colossal damage running into tens of thousands for pounds and forces people out of their properties for months while it’s renovated.
“Relatively inexpensive anti-flood devices can avoid all that.”
The new flood warnings areas are:
There are over 1.6 million people registered to receive flood warnings at the touch of a button. These flood warnings are generated from river level data which is collected via an extensive monitoring network across England. The data is combined with weather forecasts, river models and other information to produce location specific flood forecasts.
To register direct with the Environment Agency call Floodline on 0345 988 1188 or go to https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/warnings