Floods are becoming a matter of increased concern for the UK. They can damage infrastructure, destroy entire fields of crops and force thousands of people from their homes. They are also expensive, with river flooding alone costing Britain about £475 million per year.

Recent years have seen some particularly extreme flooding events. 2007 saw the most serious inland flooding in 60 years, and the 2014 floods were caused by the wettest December and January ever recorded. Storms will only get more frequent and more severe with climate change, making better forecasting a priority.

Simply speaking, floods are the uncharacteristic covering of land with water. While bodies of water normally change size, the increased flow is not considered to be a flood unless there is significant damage. There are numerous kinds of flood named after the location of the flood, such as:

  • river, or ‘fluvial’, floods - water bursts the banks.
  • coastal floods -  too much sea water.
  • urban flooding - caused by a lack of drainage in cities. 

CEH work on flooding

Projects

Monitoring sites

FEH web service
Industry standard methods for assessing flood risk in the UK
Flood Estimation Handbook
Estimates flood risk in order to develop resilient infrastructure
Flooding in England
Providing hydrology and forecast model expertise
Somerset Levels
Long-term strategies for the UK's largest wetland area
The river Elbe floods Meissen, Germany in 2013
Establishing a worldwide hydrological status and outlook system
Mekedatu, place where the Kaveri River flows through a narrow ravine. (CC BY 2.0) By Renjith Sasidharan https://www.flickr.com/photos/renjithks/3845336695
Upscaling local water management interventions to inform larger-scale decision-making in the Cauvery basin, India
High flow in a river
November 2016 Hydrological Summary for the UK
Flooded Lyth Valley, Cumbria in December
Q&A with Nick Reynard, CEH's Natural Hazards Science Area Lead
Soil Moisture Deficits
September 2016 Hydrological Summary for the UK
India-UK Water Security Centre
A major water research initiative between UK and India researchers launches today

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