Although the first port of call for flood warnings should always be the Environment Agency’s Flood Information Service, there are other resources available to help you manage your flood risk. There are also some areas which may not receive Environment Agency flood warnings. These five options offer help to find out how you can get additional or alternative flood warnings for you and your property, to increase resilience and give you more time to implement your flood plan.
1. Gauge Map
Gauge map is a great interactive tool for monitoring your flood risk as it shows the information from your local Environment Agency monitoring stations which are usually updated every 15 minutes. The stations cover all major rivers and many smaller rivers and streams across Britain and Ireland. Each station also has a twitter account helping to keep you regularly informed wherever you are.
2. Met Office weather warnings
Although more general, Met Office weather warnings can be a helpful indicator of the forecasted weather conditions in your area. They provide three levels of warnings similar to those delivered by the Environment Agency. These are:
Yellow – Indicates the situation may change or worsen and severe weather and disruption is possible in the next few days. In this case it is advised to prepare for possible disruption to plans and travel delays, although there is no immediate danger.
Amber – Highlights increased risk to life and property, and signifies that you should be prepared to change plans and to take action, such as by installing temporary flood resistance measures.
Red – Shows that extreme weather is expected and that damage and risk to life is likely so you should follow safety advice from local authorities and emergency services.
3. Local news and radio
Updates on your local news or radio stations are very helpful as they not only give updates that are specific to your local area, but they also often provide helpful information at the time of a flood. This includes information such as useful contact numbers or the location of evacuation centres.
- BBC Radio Lancashire: 95.5, 103.9, 104.5 FM
- BBC Radio Manchester: 95.1 FM
- BBC Radio Cumbria: 95-105 FM
4. See it for yourself
For local watercourses which you possibly pass regularly, you may be able to notice a visible difference in the level of the water. This could be harder to spot with larger rivers as changes may take several hours to become noticeable, but in small watercourses or those prone to flash flooding, heavy rain can make a big difference.
This can be aided by gauge boards located on rivers and streams that visually represent the current depth of the water. In areas where there isn’t a monitoring station nearby, gauge boards can be particularly helpful and regular inspection can provide valuable information, especially at times of heavy rainfall.
Please rememeber that flood water safety is key and caution must always be taken near flood waters.
5. Emergency App
The British Red Cross offers a free app that provides information and alerts on a range of emergency situations, including flooding. The weather and flood warnings received through this app are from the Met Office and Environment Agency.
The app allows you to add multiple places you wish to receive warnings about, and contacts to monitor in these areas. Features of the app include advice on how to prepare your home or business for flooding, access to sign up for flood warnings, and quizzes on information relating to flooding.