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  • Scottish Flood Forecast FAQs

Scottish Flood Forecast frequently asked questions

We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions to provide you with more information about the 3 day Scottish Flood Forecast.

The Scottish Flood Forecast is a new 3-day flood forecast which is produced by the Scottish Flood Forecasting Service (SFFS) daily. The SFFS is a partnership between SEPA and the Met Office.

The Scottish Flood Forecast is the public version of daily Flood Guidance Statement (FGS) we issue to Category 1 and 2 agencies.

The webpage shows a 3-day forecast at a national level, using maps and the colours yellow, amber, and red to show whether flooding is likely to happen over the next 3 days and describe what the impacts may be. It will also point you to information on what to do next.

The Scottish Flood Forecast has been created after research was undertaken with the public, community flood groups, emergency responders, our partners and employees.

The user research identified a need for the public to receive flood information earlier in a simple and clear way and have the ability to check if no significant flooding is expected.

It can be used by anyone interested in finding out at a national level whether flooding is likely to happen across Scotland over the next 3 days and what to do next. The public can check it any time.

The Scottish Flood Forecast is based on the best available information, but there will still be a chance of minor and localised flooding when the maps have no areas coloured red, amber, and yellow.

The Scottish Flood Forecast is simple to use. It is a static webpage available on SEPA’s website that you can access any time.

The service uses three simple maps and the colours yellow, amber, and red to indicate whether flooding is likely across Scotland over the next three days. It describes what might happen because of flooding and advice on what to do next.

You can access the Scottish Flood Forecast from SEPA’s website. If you have any issues accessing the information on the webpage, please call Floodline on 0345 988 1188 and an advisor will be able to help.

The webpage has been designed and should work with screen readers to describe the statement for those with visual impairments.

The web service will be updated daily after 10:30am. If a situation is developing or escalating and the risk significantly changes, then an updated version of the Scottish Flood Forecast will be published in the afternoon after 3:30pm in alignment with the Flood Guidance Statement issued to responders. In exceptional circumstances (such as if the risk is elevated to amber or red), the Scottish Flood Forecast will be updated at other times.

The colours yellow, amber, and red depend on a combination of both the impact flooding may have and the likelihood of those impacts occurring.

  • Yellow is associated with a low overall flood risk. The colour will be used when flooding is likely to cause some low-level impacts including some disruption to travel to some areas. However, it can also be used when flooding can bring more severe impacts to majority of people but the certainty of these impacts occurring is much lower.
  • Amber is used to describe a medium overall flood risk. There is an increased likelihood of impacts from flooding, which could potentially disrupt your plans. This means there is the possibility of travel delays, road and rail closures, and the potential risk to life and property. You should think about changing your plans and taking action to protect yourself and your property.
  • Red is used to describe a high overall flood risk. Dangerous flooding is expected, and you should take action now to keep yourself and others safe from the impacts of flooding. It is very likely that there will be a risk to life, with substantial disruption to travel, and possibly widespread damage to property and infrastructure. You should avoid travelling, where possible, and follow the advice of emergency services and local authorities.

Yes, the colour yellow can have two different meanings.

Yellow can be used for a range of flooding situations. The colour will be used when flooding is likely to cause some low-level impacts including some disruption to travel to some areas. However, it can also be used when flooding can bring more severe impacts to majority of people but the certainty of these impacts occurring is much lower.

It is important to read the content in the impact descriptions and the summary at the top of the Scottish Flood Forecast to understand what each colour means.

It means that no significant flooding is expected over the next 3 days. However very localised and minor flooding could still happen if it rains or because of wave overtopping along the coast. Some very localised and minor flooding is always possible if it rains, for example, because of local drainage blockages, or some fields may be flooded when a local burn is in spate.

Not always, sometimes there will be a very low risk of flooding which doesn’t fall under the colour categories. In this situation, the summary at the top of the Scottish Flood Forecast will provide more information.

This version is the high-level, national flood forecast. This is the first step in the journey to providing you with improved flood information. The next step will involve designing a more regional flood forecast which will provide you with more localised flood information. As part of the regional flood forecast, it is anticipated that you will be able to do a postcode search to find information relevant to your local area or the area you are interested in.

Not necessarily, the forecast for that day could change over the course of the three days, so it’s important that you continue to check the forecast on a regular basis.

The Scottish Flood Forecast complements the existing regional flood alerting and local flood warning services, it is the earliest information available to the public about where flooding is expected. It should indicate where regional flood alerts and/or local flood warnings will be out over the 3-day period.

The Scottish Flood Forecasting Service (SFFS) already produces a daily, national flood guidance statement issued to Category 1 and 2 agencies, such as emergency responders, local authorities other organisations with flooding management duties and recognised community responders (e.g., Scottish Flood Forum, Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) etc). Each daily statement gives an assessment of the risk of flooding for the next five days and provides organisations with valuable time to put preparations in place to reduce the impact of flooding.

The Scottish Flood Forecast uses the same information but presents it in a simpler way, covering three days rather than five. We also haven’t included the colour green to show very low flood risk because feedback told us that green generally means to most people that everything is ok and using this colour will cause confusion.