Information on Flood Warnings and Emergency Alerts

Flood Warnings and Emergency Alerts

Hopefully we’ve been fairly clear about this in Cumbria, but given there seems to be some confusion in other areas, it’s worth a reminder…..

The new national Emergency Alerts system (which was tested a few months ago) should be considered an addition to everything that already exists – and not a replacement for anything!

Specifically, whilst an Emergency Alert might be sent out when a Severe Flood Warning is issued, Emergency Alerts aren’t a replacement for signing up to Flood Alerts and Flood Warnings for your local area – Emergency Alerts will only be issued in the most serious situations.

You can sign up for flood warnings here: – and you can do this if you live near a flood risk area (rather than actually living within it).

There are three levels of flood warning:

Flood Alerts cover a large area, and issued fairly frequently – sometimes only low-lying land next to a river is expected to flood (meaning they can be useful to farmers who need to move stock), and sometimes they will be a precursor to Flood Warnings being issued. Flood Alerts are usually only issues during the daytime.

Flood Warnings cover a much smaller geographical area and mean that flooding of some properties is expected. Flood warnings may be issued during the night.

Severe Flood Warnings are based on the same geographical areas as Flood Warnings and indicate that there is a risk to life.

You can find more information on what each type of warning means here:

It’s important to understand that because Flood Alerts and Flood Warnings are based on different geographical areas, you need to sign up to Alerts and Warnings separately (via the same website).

Of course, some people may only wish to sign up to either Alerts or Warnings (e.g. some people find receiving frequent Alerts is stressful, and would rather only receive Warnings).

I realise that’s a bit confusing – if you’re left with any questions after giving it a go, please get in touch with me and Jane Phillips from the Environment Agency ( – and I’m sure we could arrange a Teams session to show people how the flood warning sign up process works if that would be of interest?