This page will give you help and advice on the hazards and risks that flooding can cause. It will also allow you to make an informed choice about what to do if you or your family are affected by flooding.
North Yorkshire has been affected by numerous flooding events.
Floods can happen anywhere at anytime, caused by rising ground water levels, burst water drains, hillside run-off from sudden rain as well as flooding from rivers and the sea.
Even if you live miles away from the coastline or a river, there's still a chance flooding could affect you.
The most common sources of flooding are:
River flooding that occurs when a watercourse cannot cope with the water draining into it from the surrounding land. This can happen, for example, when heavy rain falls on an already waterlogged catchment.
Coastal flooding that results from a combination of high tides and stormy conditions. If low atmospheric pressure coincides with a high tide, a tidal surge may happen which can cause serious flooding.
Surface water flooding which occurs when heavy rainfall overwhelms the drainage capacity of the local area. It is difficult to predict and pinpoint, much more so than river or coastal flooding.
Sewer flooding that occurs when sewers are overwhelmed by heavy rainfall or when they become blocked. The likelihood of flooding depends on the capacity of the local sewerage system. Land and property can be flooded with water contaminated with raw sewage as a result. Rivers can also become polluted by sewer overflows.
Groundwater flooding that occurs when water levels in the ground rise above surface levels. It is most likely to occur in areas underlain by permeable rocks, called aquifers. These can be extensive, regional aquifers, such as chalk or sandstone, or may be more local sand or river gravels in valley bottoms underlain by less permeable rocks.
Reservoir flooding. Some reservoirs hold large volumes of water above ground level, contained by walls, or 'dams'. Although the safety record for reservoirs is excellent, it is still possible that a dam could fail. This would result in a large volume of water being released very quickly.
What to do in an emergency
Simple steps to stay safe during a flood.
Listen to and act on the advice of the emergency services and follow these simple steps:
1. Put people before property. Move your family and pets upstairs, with a means of escape.
2. Gather essential items (like water, blankets, a torch, first aid kit, essential medication and food) and put them out of the way of flood water to keep dry.
3. Listen to local radio for updates or call Floodline on 0845 988 1188.
4. Put plugs in sinks and baths. Weigh them down with a sandbag, a pillowcase or plastic bag filled with garden soil, or a heavy object to avoid water backing up through drains into sinks and toilets.
5. Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies when flood water is about to enter your home if safe to do so. DO NOT touch sources of electricity when standing in flood water.
Flood water can rise quickly, stay calm and reassure those around you. Call 999 if you are in danger.
Sign up to the Environment Agency free flood warnings service
We can't always stop the sea and rivers from flooding, but we can tell you when it's going to happen. Some 70 per cent of those who can sign up to receive Floodline Warnings Direct service still have not done so. If you're one of them, sign up now.
Full flood warnings
Floodline Warnings Direct is a free service that provides flood warnings direct to you by telephone, mobile, email, SMS text message and fax.
You can also sign up for Floodline Warnings Direct by calling Floodline on 0845 988 1188 or Typetalk 0845 602 6340. Simple advice on what to do, before, during and after a flood is also available from Floodline.
Automatic flood warnings
From 15 February 2010, if you live in an area at risk from flooding from rivers or the sea, and are not currently registered for our free Floodline Warnings Direct service, you may receive a letter informing you that you could receive a flood warning from us when a flood occurs.
Flooding can cause misery, loss of valuable items, cost you money and keep you out of your home for months causing stress and creating anger.
Flooding - Insurance advice from the ABI
The ABI has issued advice to people who have suffered flood damage following the recent heavy rainfall.