What to do in the event of a flood

More than 400 homes and businesses in UK are flooded. Here’s how to cope

Storm Dennis flooding
Residents escape a flooded house in Hereford on Monday
(Image credit: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images)

More than 400 homes and businesses in the UK are flooded today – and the number is “likely to rise” – after Storm Dennis brought more than a month’s worth of rain to the UK in just a few days.

River levels were still rising and there were 385 flood warnings or alerts – eight of them severe, meaning there is a risk to life – still in place for England, Wales and Scotland at 1pm on Tuesday.

A woman died in Worcestershire yesterday when her car became stranded near Tenbury Wells. Yvonne Booth, who was 55, was swept away by flood water, leaving her family “devastated”, the BBC reported.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

The eight outstanding severe flood warnings refer to the rivers Lugg, Severn and Wye in both England and Wales. Major incidents have been declared in Wales, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire.

This afternoon, the BBC reported evacuations were still under way in Ironbridge, in Shropshire on the Severn, where it was feared the rising river might breach the barrier. Experts said the level would peak mid-evening on Tuesday.

How do I check for floods near me?

Flood warnings and alerts are issued by different agencies in different nations of the UK. In Scotland, check the Sepa website. In Wales, it’s Natural Resources Wales and in England the information comes from the Environment Agency.

The latest information is available online or via a 24-hour Floodline number (in Scotland, England or Wales, call 0345 988 1188; in Northern Ireland call 0300 2000 100.)

You can also sign up to receive flood alerts by text message, email or phone from the Environment Agency.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For a round-up of the most important stories from around the world - and a concise, refreshing and balanced take on the week’s news agenda - try The Week magazine. Start your trial subscription today –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Is it safe to drive through flood water?

No. The Environment Agency says just 12 inches (30cm) of water is enough to move a car. It advises not walking or driving through flood water and staying well away from swollen rivers.

What else should I do?

The Met Office advice is to Prepare, Act and Survive. This breaks down as:


  • Pack an overnight bag, including medicine and insurance documents
  • Check for flood alerts


  • Turn off gas and electricity
  • Move things upstairs or to another safe place
  • Move family, pets and cars to safety


  • Call 999 if there is immediate danger
  • Follow advice from the emergency services
  • Keep yourself and your family safe

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.