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Rainfall and river levels ease as Scotland continues to recover from Storm Babet

Date published: 22 October 2023


Rivers levels across the North and North East of Scotland remain high but will continue to improve across Sunday, with no rain forecast for the next two days.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) have begun to remove regional Flood Alerts and localised Flood Warnings – though these will remain in the areas most impacted by Storm Babet as work to assist communities continues. All Severe Flood Warnings were removed late Saturday afternoon.

Lin Bunten, Acting Chief Executive at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), said:

Alerts and Warnings as at 12:00 - check live flood updates for latest situation.

  • 5 regional flood alerts
  • 2 localised flood warnings

People are urged to stay safe and stay out of flood waters, which remain in many areas across the region, to avoid putting more pressure on recovery efforts.

Vincent Fitzsimons, SEPA’s Flood Duty Manager, said:

“The last week has been very challenging for people in Scottish communities, who have experienced another severe weather event. While the weather is an improving picture today, and rivers will continue to fall throughout the day, it’s important to remember that there are still hazards caused by flood waters and it’s important not to put yourself at risk.

“SEPA are removing the majority of local Flood Warnings but regional Flood Alerts remain in force in areas like Tayside and Aberdeenshire. This reflects not only the dangers which still exist from standing flood water, and fast flowing river water, but also that there are important recovery activities underway.

“Continue to follow the advice of the emergency services. Remember that not only is flood water likely to be dirty, hazards can be hidden - so please don’t walk or drive into it. We also urge people to keep away from any riverbank and manmade waterside infrastructures which may have been affected by the severe impacts experienced.

“SEPA’s flooding staff monitor weather forecasts, river levels and flood forecasting models 24/7 throughout the year and will collate the data, feeding this back into our models so that we can continue to provide our partner agencies with the best information available to us.

“This week’s events have shown the importance of early forecasts and warnings for communities and early engagement with partners so they can target support on the ground to those communities that need it most. SEPA and the Met Office worked together to advise on the risk of flooding from several days in advance of this event. While early information won’t stop it flooding, it does mean you have time to take action to prepare, so if you haven’t already signed up to Floodline to receive free Flood Alerts and Warnings directly to your phone, do it now – don’t wait until the next flood event to take action.”

SEPA continues to work with the Met Office to monitor the situation 24/7. As well as live information at Flood Updates, people can check the three-day Scottish Flood Forecast to see what conditions are expected further ahead.

Notes to editors

Flooding is ongoing in England and Wales, so stay informed if you are travelling:

Be prepared

  • Check the Scottish Flood Forecast - developed in partnership with the Met Office it provides the earliest indication possible of when and where flooding is expected over the next three days, and whether the source is from rivers, surface water or the sea.
  • Sign up to Floodline and receive free flood messages letting you know when the area where you live, work or travel through is at risk of flooding. 
  • Create a flood plan which includes knowing how to shut off your gas, water and electricity supplies.
  • Consider installing flood protection at your home.

Stay safe  

  • Follow the advice of emergency responders, including evacuation.
  • Don’t walk through flood water – 15cm of fast flowing water could be enough to knock you off your feet and hazards can be hidden under the water.
  • Drive with care, and do not travel through deep fast flowing water. It only takes 30cm of fast flowing water to move an average family sized car. 
  • If you’re walking beside rivers be extra careful of wet footpaths and small watercourses.
  • Consider deploying flooding protection products if required.

Stay informed   

What’s the difference between a flood alert and a flood warning?

  • We use forecast weather information provided by the Met Office combined with our own observation of rainfall and river levels and advanced hydrological modelling to provide advance warning of flooding.
  • Regional Flood Alerts are early advice that flooding is possible across a wider geographical area. The purpose of the Alerts is to make people aware of the risk of flooding and be prepared. We normally issue them 12 to 24 hours in advance of the possibility of flooding.
  • Flood Warnings are more locally specific and are issued for areas where we have gauges on rivers to measure the exact river height. They are issued at shorter notice when we are more certain that a specific area will be affected.