Scottish flood system gets early test

Tuesday 08th Feb 2011 by theWeather Club

As has been made painfully clear in the news over the past few years, flooding is becoming an increasing issue for people around the world and the UK is far from immune. In response to this, the Scottish Flood Forecasting Service (SFFS) - a new partnership between the Met Office and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) - has been set up and will officially launch in March this year. It already seems to be paying dividends.

During a pre-launch emergency exercise involving a flooding scenario in the west of Scotland, weather conditions deteriorated to such an extent that the SFFS team realised they were dealing with a potentially serious flooding situation. The team's report made its way to the Scottish government, which connected the team with the Scottish Government Resilience Room (SGoRR), a coordination facility activated in cases of a crisis or national emergency. The SGoRR then contacted the team and was given a real-time Flood Guidance Statement,  exactly the kind of information that will soon be available to all of Scotland's emergency planning and emergency response organisations. Alan Motion, business manager for the Met Office's services to Government in Scotland, said that what happened during the test illustrated exactly why the service is being set up in the first place. Alan added: “The actions of the SFFS team, even at this early stage, show the partnership is already working well and the wider resilience team is reaping the benefits from the investment by the Scottish government.”

SEPA's flood forecasting and warning manager Michael Cranston said: "Having the right experts, in the right place, providing high quality, practical flood forecasting information, at the right time for Scotland's emergency response community, is exactly what the SFFS is there to achieve. This was an excellent opportunity to test it in a real-life situation, while also testing use of the new Floodline direct warnings service, which goes live in late March."

The new service will provide emergency responders and the Scottish government with a daily assessment of flood risk across the country, including a five-day forecast and issuing timely advice during flooding incidents.