Coastal flood forecasting in Scotland: what’s new?

Flooding on the promenade in Oban during the 1960's.  A new coastal flood forecasting system has been developed to forecast surge and wave conditions that may lead to flooding. Images courtesy of Richard Brown (Head of Hydrology, SEPA)

Flooding on the promenade in Oban during the 1960’s. A new coastal flood forecasting system has been developed to forecast surge and wave conditions that may lead to flooding. Images courtesy of Richard Brown (Head of Hydrology, SEPA)

Coastal flood forecasting has not featured much as a discussion topic on this site, which doesn’t truly reflect the growing work in this area.  Coastal flooding in Scotland represents 17% of the total flood risk in the country and flood warning is and will be a significant part in coastal adaptation strategies. Only last December Scotland witnessed probably the biggest storm affecting its eastern coastal communities since the Great 1953 East Coast flood and one which caused significant damage due to wave overtopping.

The Crannog Pier and Restaurant in Fort William. The new forecasting system will predict surge propogation up Loch Linnhe to the communities of Corpach and Caol.

The Crannog Pier and Restaurant in Fort William. The new forecasting system will predict surge propogation up Loch Linnhe to the communities of Corpach and Caol.

This October we launched a new coastal forecasting system for the Firth of Lorn and Loch Linnhe.  The west coast of Scotland is vulnerable to Atlantic weather systems that can produce significant surge conditions resulting in flooding of settlements such as Oban and Fort William (as experienced in 2005). Using the National Oceanography Centre CS3 surge model and the Met Office UKV winds, the new Loch Linnhe forecasting system produces local surge and wind-generated wave impact predictions to inform risk-based communication to responders.

In addition to the Firth of Forth and Tay coastal forecasting system, there are now plans to develop further coastal modelling capabilities for the Moray Firth in 2014.

Reference

Development of a coastal flood warning system for Loch Linnhe, Scotland (2013) Daniel Roger, Mark Lawless and Claire Harley. Coasts, Marine Structures and Breakwaters 2013: From Sea to Shore – Meeting the Challenges of the Sea.

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