There are 2500 river level monitors in England and Wales managed by the Environment Agency.
Members of the public can access them on the Agency’s website, but from the gov.uk home page, an individual monitoring station’s page is just eight mouse clicks away!
Now, under a Government initiative going under the title of ‘Open Data’, all the information gathered by these level monitoring stations is accessible to third parties. One such third party has developed two brilliant and complementary websites relating to flood monitoring and warnings. It takes only a few seconds to determine if your property is at risk of flooding on CheckMyFloodRisk.co.uk by simply typing in your address or post code. If your property is at risk of being flooded, then you can go onto GaugeMap.co.uk and see what level the local river or brook is at now and for the past few days in simple eye-catching graphics, with height at which possible flooding might occur.
Here is the clever bit - Twitter accounts have been set up for all the 2500 river level monitors, so you can follow the monitor and know within 15 minutes the level of the watercourse that most concerns you. "What if I don’t have a Twitter account?" I hear you ask. Bookmark the Gauge Map website and sign up for the Agency’s Floodline Warnings Direct or Flood Alerts system, by doing this you can get a text message sent directly to your mobile phone, even if you're getting some sunshine in another country.
Hopefully my blog has helped you, by using the power of the Internet, to set up quick and easily accessible alerts so you now know your flood risk. The next step is to be prepared and have a plan.