Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney

Residents encouraged to sign up for new flood warning service

Residents encouraged to sign up for new flood warning service
18 September 2018

A new coastal flood warning service for Orkney is launched today (Tuesday 18 September).

Developed by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) with support from the Council, the aims is to coastal communities in the islands more advance warning of coastal flooding and reduce the damage and distress it cause.

The new scheme will add 11 Flood Warning Areas to SEPA’s flood forecasting and warning services.

People who live, work or travel through these areas are being encouraged to register to receive free, flood warning messages when coastal flooding is expected, to help them protect themselves and their property.

You can sign up for flood warnings for:

  • Burray and Ayre of Cara.
  • Sanday.
  • Stromness.
  • Churchill Barriers.
  • Scapa.
  • Stronsay.
  • Kirkwall.
  • St Margaret’s Hope.
  • Westray.
  • Longhope and Hoy.
  • St Mary’s and Graemeshall.

Community information sessions are being held where people can meet SEPA representatives, ask questions about the new coastal flood warnings and sign up to receive flood warning messages for their area.

These take place today (18 September) for:

  • Kirkwall and Scapa: 14:30 - 19:30 at Kirkwall and St Ola Town Hall.
  • Stromness: 14:30-19:30 at the Warehouse Buildings.
  • Longhope and Hoy: 14:30-19:30 at the YM Hall, Longhope.
  • St Mary’s and Graemeshall, Burray and Ayre of Cara, Churchill Barriers and St Margaret’s Hope: 14:30-19:30 at the Cromarty Hall.

Meetings for the North Isles take place tomorrow (19 September):

  • Stronsay: 13:30-17:30 at Stronsay Fish Mart - Cancelled due to poor weather
  • Sanday: 15:30-19:30 at Sanday Community School.
  • Westray: 14:30-18:30 at Hofn Youth Centre - Cancelled due to poor weather

Councillor Graham Sinclair, Chair of the Council’s Development and Infrastructure Committee, said: “SEPA’s Coastal Flood Warning Scheme offers our residents, business and road users valuable information in the lead up to bad weather.

“The additional and advance notification gives everyone extra time to take necessary precautions in terms of any potential risk to property, or in terms of planning their journeys.

“We welcome the introduction of this new warning system and hope that the greater notice it provides gives locals valuable extra time to plan in periods of severe weather.

“I’d urge everyone in Orkney to consider the alerts they should be signing up for.”

Paul Copestake, SEPA’s Flood Advisor for the Orkney islands, said: “Ninety per cent of flooding in Orkney is caused by the sea, through exceptional high tides, enhanced in stormy weather by storm surges and overtopping waves.

“By providing accurate warning of forecasted coastal flood events, SEPA’s new Coastal Flood Warning service will be of value to everyone who travels around Orkney and specifically to over 1,500 properties, across eleven new priority areas identified as being most at risk.

“Working in close partnership with Orkney Island’s Council and local emergency services, the new scheme will provide greater resilience to the most flood prone communities on Orkney and ensure prevention measures can be planned and deployed in advance of extreme weather.”

Coastal Flood Warnings will be issued to the public through Floodline, SEPA’s public flood warning service.
Floodline provides free live flooding information and advice on how to prepare for, or cope with, the impacts of flooding 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

When flooding is forecast in a Flood Warning Area, messages will be sent by phone as an SMS or voice message telling you that a Flood Warning has been issued and directing you to visit the SEPA website or phone Floodline for more information.

More information about Floodline and how to sign up for flood warnings is available here.