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SEPA seeks feedback on new three-day flood forecast

By David Porter

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Members of the public are being asked for their feedback on a new Scottish Flood Forecast, which will give communities an indication of where flooding is likely to occur in Scotland up to three days in advance.

SEPA is testing a new flooding map.
SEPA is testing a new flooding map.

A digital, colour coded map has been developed to show potential flood risks for the three days following the publication date of the map, and whether the source of flooding is from the sea, rivers or from surface water.

It will describe the potential impacts of flooding and link to advice and information on what protective action people can take if required.

The map will also provide reassurance to communities when significant flooding is not expected.

The forecast will be produced every morning, 365 days a year, and published on SEPA’s website.

It is an additional tool for the public 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 Forecasting Service, a partnership between the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Met Office, has created the new Scottish Flood Forecast following extensive user research.

It involved the public, community flood groups, emergency responders, partner organisations and SEPA and Met Office employees.

The findings identified a need for flood information to be provided earlier, in a simple and clear way, and the ability to check when no flooding is expected.

The new national service can be viewed online from Thursday, May 12 and is the first step on the journey to providing communities with improved flood information.

Feedback from the public will be gathered to inform the next steps and refine the design.

The forecast is expected to be finalised and launched later this year.

Pascal Lardet, Flood Warning Unit Manager at SEPA, said: “More extreme weather and rising sea levels due to climate change mean we have to learn to live with flooding. It’s vital communities are supported to safely prepare for the potential impacts as early as possible. Thanks to this new product and the extra notice it offers, they’ll have the best chance to reduce the risk of damage and disruption.

“The three-day Scottish Flood Forecast is the biggest change to our flood warning service since it began in 2011.

"We have listened to customers to ensure we are creating a product that will help them prepare for flooding at the earliest opportunity.

"We will continue to engage and capture customer feedback during the initial pilot period before launching the final version of the Scottish Flood Forecast expected later this year.

"I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Scottish Flood Forum and the communities at risk of flooding who have already helped to develop this service so far.”

Mark Gibbs, Head of Environment and Energy at the Met Office said: “We have worked in partnership with SEPA to develop the Scottish Flood Forecast which embodies our ethos at the Met Office to help people stay safe and thrive.

This is becoming increasingly challenging as climate change impacts threaten to affect communities across Scotland and the risks from flooding increase.

The Met Office are continually working on improvements to forecasting which feed into the Scottish Flood Forecast.

“During this pilot period we look forward to hearing the views and opinions from communities throughout Scotland to create an improved final version.”

The Scottish Flood Forecast will be available and tested on www.sepa.org.uk/scottishfloodforecast.

A link will be available on this page for members of the public to submit any feedback.

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