How to prepare for flooding in Wales as Met Office forecasts wet winter

Winter could be wetter than normal, experts have warned. Credit: PA

People in Wales are being urged to be prepared for flooding as the Met Office warns we could be in for a wet winter.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is encouraging people to check their flood risk online, sign up for flood warnings and to know what to do if flooding hits their home. 

The call to action comes as Met Office weather experts say wetter than average conditions could hit the UK in January and February.

Will Lang, head of Civil Contingencies at the Met Office said: “When looking at the big global drivers that impact weather in the UK there are indications this winter could be wetter than normal.”

Making sure communities are fully prepared ahead of extreme weather, NRW wants to raise awareness about the three levels of flood warnings. 

What are flood warnings and what should I do?

If rivers and coasts reach levels at which flooding is possible or expected, NRW will issue Flood Alerts and Warnings.

Teams will also be monitoring and forecasting river and sea levels across Wales, 24 hours a day. So what does each type of flood warning mean?

Flood Alert - Flooding is possible and most likely to impact travel, recreation land (like parks) or farmland. Be prepared to act on your flood plan, prepare a bag of essential items and monitor local river levels and flood warning service on the NRW website.

Flood warning - Expect to see flooding of homes and businesses. Take action by moving family, pets, and valuables to safety, turn off gas, electricity and water supplies and put flood protection equipment in place.

Severe Flood Warning - there is a risk of severe flooding and a risk to life. Some communities may need to be evacuated and should follow the advice of the emergency services. Call 999 if you are in immediate danger.

What preparations are being made?

Checks and repairs - Flood defences, which help protect 73,000 properties from flooding, are being checked and repaired across Wales. 

  • NRW is also taking forward the action identified within its Flood Reviews following floods in February 2020 to help ensure Wales is in a strong position to face future flooding.

Recent statistics show 1 in 8 (around 245,000) properties in Wales are at risk of flooding.

Climate change is also expected to make extreme weather events more frequent and severe in future.

“Wales is no stranger to extreme weather events.” Said Jeremy Parr, Head of Flood Risk and Incident Management at Natural Resources Wales.

“While NRW will do all we can to ensure our defences and warning systems are ready to help reduce the impact of flooding on people and property, we also want to help communities to recognise their own flood risk and support them to help protect themselves and their properties before the rain starts to fall.

“That’s why we are urging people to check their flood risk on the NRW website through our simple postcode checker and find out what to do if you are at risk.”

Flood alerts and flood warnings are updated on the NRW website every 15 minutes.

Information and updates are also available by calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188.