Storm Ciara: Be Prepared

February 7th, 2020

As Storm Ciara sweeps the UK this weekend, it pays to be prepared.

Are You Prepared for Severe Gales and Strong Winds?

Gale-force winds are the most common cause of damage to property in the United Kingdom. Although the majority of damage reports come from domestic property, businesses also need to be aware of the risks in order to keep employees safe and minimise damage to buildings and content. Storms with high winds can produce devastating consequences, bringing about £300 million in damages throughout the United Kingdom each year.

Met Office Wind Warnings

The UK National Weather Service, the Met Office, provides up-to-date weather advisories and warns the public of severe or hazardous weather through its National Severe Weather Warning Service.  Warnings are given a colour (Green, Yellow, Amber or Red) based on the combination of both the likelihood of the severe weather event occurring and the impact the weather conditions may have. Make sure you check your local weather forecast to find out whether the Met Office has released any warnings for your area. You can also find the latest warnings here.

The Met Office provides the following examples of what to expect during severe gales and high winds:

 

Very Low Threat (Green)·        Debris dislodged and some branches removed

·        Perhaps some very limited travel disruption

·        Difficulties on certain routes, such as cross winds on exposed or high-level roads

Low Threat (Yellow)·        Possible debris being blown around

·        Some branches or trees may be brought down

·        Some localised travel disruption

·        Problems for high-sided vehicles on certain routes (drive with care)

Medium Threat (Amber)·        Some travel disruption, such as closed bridges

·        More widespread tree damage and other debris dislodged from roofs

·        Some minor structural damage possible

·        Risk of injury from flying debris

High Threat (Red) 

·        Widespread structural damage, such as roofs blown off, mobile homes overturned and power lines brought down

·        Risk to personal safety from flying debris

·        Potentially widespread and prolonged interruptions to power

·        Widespread transport disruption due to roads blocked by fallen trees and debris

 

If the Met Office issues a warning for severe gales and high winds in your location, make sure you are prepared. Use the following tips and hints to help ensure your safety if high winds are prevalent.

Before the Storm

 

During the Storm

After the Storm

Stay safe when severe weather strikes by being prepared and checking weather forecasts and warnings.

Are you Prepared for Heavy Rain and Floods?

According to the Environment Agency (EA), the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Northern Ireland’s Rivers Agency, there are over 5 million properties in the United Kingdom at risk for flooding. Forecasting floods largely depends on the type and nature of the events that trigger them, such as when and where a storm will hit or how much rain it will bring. Short periods of intense rainfall can create flash floods, in which the rain falls so fast that the underlying ground cannot drain it away fast enough. Roads can become like rivers and sweep away cars, and buildings can be flooded. These are particularly dangerous as there is very little warning between the rain falling and the flash flood occurring. Longer periods of heavy, widespread rain and storm surges can cause coastal flooding.

Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live or work, but especially if you live or work in low-lying areas, near bodies of water or downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, creeks or low-lying ground that appears harmless in dry weather can flood.

Met Office Flood Warnings

The United Kingdom’s National Weather Service, the Met Office, provides up-to-date weather advisories and warns the public of severe or hazardous weather through its National Severe Weather Warning Service.  Warnings are given a colour (Green, Yellow, Amber or Red) based on the combination of both the likelihood of the severe weather event occurring and the impact the weather conditions may have. Make sure you check your local weather forecast to find out whether the Met Office has released any warnings for your area. You can also find the latest warnings here. You can also get advice and information 24 hours a day from the EA, SEPA and local authorities during flood emergencies by calling Floodline at 0845 988 1188 for England, Scotland and Wales, or the Northern Ireland flooding incident line at 0300 2000 100.

The Met Office provides the following examples of what to expect during heavy rains and floods.

 

Very Low Threat (Green)·        Some flooding of low-lying fields, recreational land and car parks but little or no disruption to travel.

·        Wet road surfaces and the possibility of ponding water, leading to difficult driving conditions.

·        Take extra care when driving in affected areas.

Low Threat (Yellow)·        Localised flooding of low lying fields, recreational land and car parks.

·        Flooding of a small number of homes and businesses.

·        Wet road surfaces and the possibility of ponding water, especially in known trouble spots.

·        Local disruption to travel—expect longer journey times.

·        Water on roads—drive according to the conditions encountered.

Medium Threat (Amber)·        Some flooding of homes, businesses and transport links possible.

·        Disruption to travel likely.

·        Disruption to gas, electricity, water supplies and telecoms.

·        Some evacuations may be required. Be prepared to protect yourself and your property.

High Threat (Red)·        Widespread flooding of property.

·        Severe disruption to travel.

·        Loss of gas, electricity, water supplies.

·        Significant disruption to communities.

·        Evacuation expected.

·        Significant risk to life.

·        Take action to protect yourself and follow the advice of emergency services.

 

If the Met Office issues a warning for heavy rain and flooding in your location, make sure you are prepared. Use the following tips and hints to help ensure your safety if heavy rains and flooding are prevalent.

Before a Flood

What would you do if your property or business were flooded? Are you prepared? Even if you feel you are in an area with a low risk of flooding, remember that anywhere it rains, it can flood. Just because you haven’t experienced a flood in the past doesn’t mean you won’t in the future. Flood risk isn’t just based on history; it is also based on a number of factors, including rainfall, topography, flood-control measures, river-flow and tidal-surge data and changes due to new construction and development.

Flood maps have been created to show the flood risk for your community. For more information about your flood risk and to view flood maps for your area, visit these websites:

To prepare for a flood, you should:

During a Flood

If a flood is likely in your area:

After a Flood

Although floodwaters may be down in some areas, many dangers still exist. Here are some things to remember:

Staying Healthy

A flood can cause physical hazards and emotional stress. You need to look after yourself and those around you as you focus on clean-up and repair.

Stay safe when severe weather strikes by being prepared and checking weather forecasts and warnings.

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