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


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
Linking sensor monitoring sites using digital rivers
Engineering Transformation for the Integration of Sensor Networks: A Feasibility Study
Storm clouds over fishing boats in Mumbai
SUNRISE workshop on drought and flood estimation held in Maharashtra, India
Covers of two reports from the National Hydrological Monitoring Programme
Documenting and analysing the hydrological conditions of the UK
Derwent valley reservoirs on 15th November 2018
Assessing the water resources situation
Interacting with members of the public on the shores of Windermere