Space Charter activated in response to UK flooding

Flood Warning

Spotted on the BBC News page, the recent flooding in the UK (yes, it has been even wetter than normal over here!) has prompted the UK Government to activate the global charter on space and natural disasters. This essentially gives government agencies access to the most up-to-date imagery of affected areas allowing them to plan relief and contingencies.

There is no end in sight for the bad weather which is being driven by a very strong jet-stream. This has resulted in a number of deep depressions passing over the UK battering the coasts and dropping lots of precipitation.  Depressions are not unusual at this time of year, but the frequency and intensity has given the rivers little time to recover before the next assault.

Useful links:


Flood – Pic courtesy of Johndal (

River Data


Flooding in Morpeth – 25/09/2012 – (Courtesy of Johndal –

It is summer here in the UK, or at least it is meant to be. Summer 2012 seems to have been a bit of a wash out and there have been a number of small-medium flood events across the country.  This has prompted me to collate a list of data sources related to rainfall, river flow and flooding for the UK and beyond.

River Level

  • Scottish River levels from SEPA – SEPA provide real-time data for a number of major rivers. (data feed available)
  • England and Wales – The Environment Agency supply information on river levels but no data feed at the current time.
  • USA Water data – The USGS suply live feeds from a huge number of rivers across the US.  You can drill down by state to see individual rivers. (Data feed available)
  • ECRINS – ECRINS is acronym for European catchments and RIvers network System. it is a fully connected system of watersheds, rivers, lakes, monitoring stations, dams made from the JRC CCM2.1 and many other sources.

In addition to river data, hydrology usually requires an understanding of the weather and the climate of an area.  Below are a selection of resources which provide meteorlogical datasets.

Rain fall Data

  • Met office Historc station data – Exactly what is says on the tin, historic data from the Met office.
  •– Some met office historic data is also available through the portal.  Historic measurements form around 20 observation stations and is updated each month.
  • – not an official EA/SEPA site, however it does contain links to many live met station data feeds.  Links are accessible through a Google map window which makes it easy to search through data.  Floodwarn also provides feed about flood warnings and drought orders.

Flood Alerts

Flood Warnings and Alerts issued by the Environment Agency for England and Wales and by SEPA for Scotland.  These inform the public of increased risk of flooding and should help them prepare for flooding. Alerts are seperated into 3 categories;

  1. Flood Alerts – Flooding is possible. Be prepared.
  2. Flood Warnings – Flooding is expected. Immediate action required
  3. Severe Flood Warnings – Severe flooding. Danger to life.

The following sites are quite interesting when you are looking at flood alerts.

  • Environment Agency – Shows the flood warnings that are currently in force.
  • SEPA – Shows the flood warnings that are currently in force in Scotland
  • Shoothill Flood – a nice map that shows the flood warnings, takes the data feed from the EA and SEPA API’s.  Easier to see where the flood alerts are than scanning a big table. The thing i like about this site is that it shows the river reach that is affected.  Would be great to see them add Scotland!

Met Data

  • BADC – the British Atmospheric Data Centre has numerous free datasets available.  One such offering is the Met Office Integrated Data Archive System (MIDAS) Land Surface Stations.  This contains numerous different weather observations such as wind, air temp, rainfall and sunshine.
  • WorldClim – WorldClim is a set of global climate layers (climate grids) with a spatial resolution of about 1 square kilometer.  Information about the methods used to generate the climate layers.


ShareGeo has a number of useful, free datasets for anyone wanting to do anything with rivers.

  • GB Rivers – this vector dataset shows the location of the main rivers in Great Britain
  • River Flow Gauges GB – shows the position of flow gauges on Great Britains rivers. These are used to monitor water levels and flow.
  • European River Data – Main rivers of Europe
  • EEA Hydrographic Data – ECRINS is a fully connected system of watersheds, rivers, lakes, monitoring stations, dams

2012 November Floods in England

This section concentrates on the flooding that occured in England in late November 2012.  A series of depressions tracked slowly over the south-west of England and over a months worth of rain fell in a day. This fell onto already saturated ground and caused widespread flooding.

  • Guardian reader photographs: some great pictures showing the flooding in England.
  • Met Office Radar: a video showing the rainfall radar from Saturday 24th through to Monday 26th November.  Really visualises the size of the storm and the intensity of the rainfall.
  • BBC Drone video – BBC video shot from a drone. Neat use of tech.
  • BBC Overview – BBC report from 26th Nov with lot of useful links to regional stories