Flood Forecasting Centre getting message across

Collaboration is at the heart of the Flood Forecasting Centre (FFC). It’s hydrometeorologists provide guidance on weather and rainfall to partners every day. The FFC carries out modelling to assess what the effects of those conditions might be.

It also shares the information so that local partners can run it through their own models. The partners come back to the FFC and describe local impacts that could be expected.

This level of local detail enables the FFC to focus guidance and create wide and detailed picture of flood risk.

Getting the message across

The FFC issues a daily Flood Guidance Statement (FGS) to its customers. It communicates the level of flood risk through an easy-to-read colour-coded system. Local councils and emergency responders can then act based on their risk of flooding.

The FGS uses a matrix to signify the type of warning and the response needed. The FFC also communicates risk to Government departments such as the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). This means that authorities are ready for any national response.

Briefing at the highest level

Such is the national importance of the FFC that it has been involved in top level response. The FFC has taken part in minister-led and even Prime Minister-led COBR (Cabinet Office Briefing Room). FFC knowledge and expertise is:

  • used at the highest level of decision making
  • supporting the Civil Contingency Secretariat by overseeing and coordinating the response

Cross-border collaboration

The FFC also works with the Scottish Flood Forecasting Service (SFFS). Flood Management in Scotland is devolved. This means it has its own hydrometeorological expertise, generating its own flood guidance. The FFC and SFFS are independent bodies, though they work together on a regular basis to ensure their forecasts are consistent.

Measure of success

To assess the satisfaction of the end user, the FFC holds bi-annual customer surveys. The latest survey reported that:

  • 92% of responders who receive the FGS are satisfied with the information it contains
  • 47% are very satisfied

The FFC use the results from these surveys to continually improve services.

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