Improvements to Flood Warnings Benefit National and Local Agencies

Creating water-resilient places is a key challenge for the flood management community. Heightened flood risk due to an increase in the frequency and intensity of rainstorms means more space is needed to store water whilst reducing risk to people. Improved awareness and preparedness against flooding is therefore increasingly important.

The Flood Forecasting & Warning Team here at RAB are focussed on improving flood warning abilities to aid resilience. We are proud of our work with local and national government agencies and organisations to continually improve the flood warning areas they use to warn and inform people and businesses during a flood incident. 

We can collectively determine the source, pathway, and receptors to river flooding using hydraulic model outputs, historical flood records, and gauged flow records. By identifying the flow routes and overtopping sites based on topographical data, we can look to identify the first point along the river where water will overtop the river bank, allowing us to identify the route from the overtopping site to the first property to flood.

The identification of the pathway allows for any storage capacity within the flow route and the subsequent additional lead time that this provides for people to prepare for potential flooding.

Through analysis of historical flow gauge records along with the identification of the first point of impact, it is possible to revise the threshold levels to which a flood alert or flood warning is triggered. Based on threshold revisions, flood alert and flood warning areas can be revised by comparing ground levels of the first point of impact with flood levels.

We have carried out flood warning improvement studies in several parts of the UK, with the most recent in North Yorkshire, which has been used to revise flood warning thresholds used by the Environment Agency.

RAB delivers a wide range of resilience and flood risk services for public and private sector organisations. More information is available here on our website, or you can get in touch for an informal discussion on your specific project by email to or call our head office in Lichfield on 0330 223 6475.