Flood warning systems in the UK

by Sebastian Pitman

Much of SurgeWatch’s work is concentrated on recording flood events that have already taken place as there is currently no consistent UK approach to doing so, but how does the UK warn people of flood events?

The Government run a Flood Information Service (FIS), which outlines any imminent or occurring flood events throughout the UK. Through the combination of sea and river level monitoring, long term flood risk assessment, and various channels of communication, the FIS is able to warn people of likely flooding, and rate the severity on a sliding scale. The three levels of flood warning are as follows;

  1. Flood Alert: This is where small scale flooding is possible, and people are advised to make minor preparations.
  2. Flood Warning: Flooding is expected and immediate action is required.
  3. Severe Flood Warning: There is severe flooding which poses a danger to life.
Flood Information Service dashboard

Flood Information Service dashboard

The FIS allows people to sign up for flood warnings by phone, email or text, based upon your postcode. This free service aims to give as much warning as possible of any imminent flood events, and provide ample information from which people can make preparations and plans prior to the peak of the event.