Welsh households urged to know their flood risk as wet winter predicted

Graphic saying check your flood risk by postcode

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is urging people across Wales to check their flood risk online, sign up for flood warnings and, if they are at risk, know what to do if flooding hits their home amid predictions of a wet winter ahead.

The call to action comes as the Met Office predicts an above-average chance of the winter being wetter than normal, with the wetter conditions most likely in January and February.

NRW is the lead authority for flooding from main rivers and the sea in Wales. It has been working closely with local authorities and other partners to help ensure communities are prepared for the winter and any extreme weather events ahead. Forecasts and weather warnings from the Met Office helps inform how NRW prepares and responds to flooding in Wales.

This includes making checks and any necessary repairs to NRW’s network of flood defences across Wales which help to protect 73,000 properties from flooding.

NRW is also taking forward the actions identified within its Flood Reviews published in October last year following the February 2020 flood events to help ensure it and the people of Wales are in as strong a position possible to face any future flooding events. 

But with 1 in 8 (around 245,000) properties in Wales at risk of flooding, and with climate change expected to make extreme weather events more frequent and more severe in the future, NRW is also encouraging people to take some simple steps to help play their part in helping to prepare themselves for flooding.

Jeremy Parr, Head of Flood Risk and Incident Management at Natural Resources Wales said:
“Wales is no stranger to extreme weather events. Those who experienced the devastating impacts of the February 2020 floods and other severe storms since will know that the effects last far beyond the subsiding of the waters, and our thoughts are with those who have experienced this first-hand.
“But just because your property hasn’t been affected by flooding before, it doesn’t mean it can’t happen in the future.
“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 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.
“If people find they are at risk from river or coastal flooding, they can sign up for the free flood warning service on our website and find out what steps they can take to prepare. You can also find important information on what to do during and after a flood.”

As the climate warms, extreme weather events are set to become more frequent.

Will Lang, Head of Civil Contingencies at the Met Office said:
“Winters in the UK usually includes a wide variety of weather and this winter looks to be no exception. However, when looking at the big global drivers that impact weather in the UK there are indications this winter could be wetter than normal.
“Although these wetter conditions are most likely in January and February next year, it is too early to say when or where in Wales is most at risk of seeing any impacts. Details will become clearer nearer the time and information can be found on the forecast pages of our website.”
The NRW website provides vital information to people who live in or travel through flood risk areas. On the NRW website, people can check their risk of flooding from rivers, the sea and surface water with a postcode checker, check river levels, rainfall and sea data and sign up to the free flood warning service.

NRW will issue Flood Alerts and Warnings if rivers and coasts reach levels at which flooding is possible or expected with teams monitoring and forecasting river and sea levels around Wales 24 hours a day.

There are three levels of flood warnings:

  • 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.

The 5-day flood risk for Wales map is also updated on the NRW website every day at 10:30am – and more frequently when there is medium or high risk of flooding. It gives an assessment of the risk of flooding at local authority level for the next five days and provides NRW, its partners and the public with valuable time to put preparations in place to reduce the impact of flooding. 

Flood alerts and flood warnings are updated on the Natural Resources Wales website every 15 minutes.

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