News story

New flood warnings for Wakefield and Pontefract

New data allows more timely alerts to help communities

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The Environment Agency has updated its flood warning systems in Wakefield and Pontefract, using new data to provide more timely alerts and to help communities to be better prepared for flooding in the future.

A brand new warning service is available for communities near Wash Dike, which runs from Pontefract to Ferrybridge, and improvements have also been made to the existing service for Ings Beck in Wakefield.

Both of these areas are classified as ‘rapid response catchments’, meaning that water levels can rise quickly after heavy rain.

Flooding occurred last summer in Pontefract, where the water level in Wash Dike can rise by 1.5 metres in just 15 minutes.

Information gathered from this incident has now been used to create a new flood alert and a new flood warning for Wash Dike. Alerts are issued when flooding is possible; warnings are issued when flooding to property is expected.

The local flood warden group has also been increased in size, to bring in residents affected by last year’s flooding. The group is part of a wider network of volunteers across Yorkshire, who act as the Agency’s ‘eyes and ears’ during a flood and play an important role in ensuring their community is as ready as possible for flooding.

In Wakefield, the Environment Agency has carried out a lot of work in recent years to protect hundreds of properties in the Ings Beck Catchment, including new flood storage areas on Ings Beck and Alverthorpe Beck have led to new modelling of the catchment. As a result, the Ings Beck flood warning areas have been updated to match the latest information about the risk of flooding in the area.

Graham Lindsey, flood resilience advisor at the Environment Agency, said:

The Environment Agency is constantly updating its forecasting and modelling systems to improve flood warning services, and every time flooding occurs, we gather information from the incident to improve our understanding of local flood risk.

Providing warnings in rapid response catchments, where water levels can rise quickly, is difficult - but our updated warnings for Wakefield and Pontefract will hopefully alert the community in a more timely manner, giving them more time to prepare.

People who haven’t already signed up to receive free flood warnings in these areas are advised to do so. It’s also important that people know how to stay safe and take action when flooding is likely. That’s why we are going to be visiting residents and businesses along Wash Dike on Wednesday 11 March to encourage people to register for this free service and to offer information and advice about how the warnings work, and how you can take action to be prepared.

To sign up and receive flood warnings, you can register by calling Floodline 0345 988 1188, or by visiting our flood risk web pages. This website also includes information on how you can prepare and keep yourself safe.

Published 9 March 2015