The 4th October marked ten years since the Environment Agency and the Met Office formed a partnership and saved lives, livelihoods and protected infrastructure.
This has led to an evolution in the UK’s ability to forecast, mitigate against and respond to flood events. The Flood Forecasting Centre (FFC) was set up in 2009 bringing together Met Office meteorologists and Environment Agency hydrologists to provide crucial, timely warnings to emergency responders helping them make the critical decisions that save livelihoods and keep people safe.
The FFC was set up in 2009, following recommendations made in the Pitt Review, to better understand how rainfall impacts river catchments and flash flooding. Over the 10 years since its inception it has helped reduce the impact of a number of extreme weather events, including:
Winter storms of 2013/14, From mid-December to early January, the UK experienced a spell of extreme weather as a succession of major winter storms brought widespread impacts to the UK. Initially most of the weather impacts related to the strong winds, however, as rainfall totals accumulated the focus of concern turned to flooding, including large river catchments such as the Severn and Thames. FFC guidance enabled emergency responders and local communities to make strategic decisions, such as moving huge water pumps onto the Somerset Levels, which mitigated impacts and protected lives and property.
Forecasting skills are constantly evolving and developing thanks to world leading, cutting-edge science and technology and the collaboration between the Met Office and the Environment Agency. With higher maximum daily temperatures and more intense rainfall affecting the UK the impacts of flooding are likely to be greater in coming decades. The ability to accurately forecast flood events will therefore become ever more important
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