SEPA explain ‘confusing’ flood warning system

A car batteling against the flood in Longside
A car batteling against the flood in Longside

SEPA has attempted to explain its ‘confusing’ flood alert and flood warning system after Buchan areas were flooded without much warning last week.

The Environment Protection Agency has stated that its flood warning system is not a three tier system despite all appearances to the contrary, leading a SEPA spokesperson to call it ‘confusing’.

Richard Brown, SEPA’s Head of Hydrology, said: ““It is important to note that Flood Alerts and Flood Warnings are not a staged process.

“A Flood Alert is an early indication of potential flooding from rivers, the sea and surface water. Its purpose is to raise awareness and to enable the public and emergency response services to prepare for possible flooding.”

Some Buchan areas were left devastated by flooding on Friday with Longside, Boddam, St. Combs and Lonmay in particular badly affected.

There was little to warn the residents of Buchan that such a deluge of water was to be expected, with an Aberdeenshire wide Flood Alert the only caution given.

Mr Brown said: “Flood Warnings are issued when we have a Flood Warning Scheme on a river that tells us the impacts expected for a specific area of risk.

“Flood Warnings are issued when the river levels are forecast to reach specific thresholds.”

He continued: “Not all areas have Flood Warning Schemes; Longside and Boddam are two such areas.”

It appears there are currently no Flood Warning Schemes for the whole of the Buchan area.

While SEPA claim that the Alert and Warning system is not a three tier system it should be noted that the third option in there system is Severe Flood Warning, which is again an apparent an escalation in the severity of flooding.