Flood warning service to cover Scottish coastline

Flood in villageEnvironment body improves digital flood forecasting service to reach more communities and provider finer-grained detail

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is expanding and improving its flood forecasting system to cover all areas vulnerable to coastal flooding in a bid to “reduce the impact on economy and speed recovery time”.

Improvements to the ForeCoast Flood system will first roll out across the Orkney Islands. SEPA plans to introduce the digital alerts to the Outer Hebrides and the Aberdeenshire coast by 2019. The Orkneys are one of the most flood-prone zones in Scotland.

Building on an existing system, the free alerts are sent to 26,000 registered users across the Scotland. The public can also go to the website or listen to a text-to-speech voice recording to access up-to-date forecasts.

Bruce Campbell, of SEPA's Flood Forecasting and Warning Team, told UKAuthority: “The longer the lead time we can give people and the better informed they are, the longer the time it gives them to take action, like move precious belongings. This will reduce the impact on economy and speed recovery time.”

Currently, system alerts provide a generic overview of flood risk for the Orkney Islands. However the updated system will now provide detailed alerts in several communities across the islands, with the precise locations yet to be confirmed.

The alerts will also provide finer-grained detail on flooding such as information on ‘wave overtopping,’ which causes waves to crash into roads or promenades.

Forecasting data comes from a combination of sources including Met Office information on weather conditions and their impact on seas and wind conditions, astronomical tides and wave models.