Households across the UK are being told to prepare for flooding as experts predict a wetter winter than usual in the next few months.

The Met Office say there is an above-average chance of the winter being wetter than normal over the three months from November to January, with the wetter conditions most likely in January next year and beyond.

Due to the potential of more wet weather the Environment Agency (EA) is urging people to check their flood risk online, sign up for flood warnings and, if they are at risk, know what to do if flooding hits their home.

Met Office weather forecast for December and January

Will Lang, head of civil contingencies at the Met Office said variability was the defining characteristic of UK winters, with a mix of all types of weather – as has already been seen with some flooding this autumn and a cold snap looming.

“Cold weather spells and impacts such as snow do remain possible, and these cold weather impacts are more likely during the first half of the period, up until Christmas,” Mr Lang said.

“There is a higher chance overall than normal of wet conditions, and also that implies that there is a higher likelihood of impacts from rainfall and indeed from winds, especially later in the period, January and beyond that,” he said.

Gazette Series: Homes at risk of flooding are urged to follow advice from the Environment Agency. (PA)Homes at risk of flooding are urged to follow advice from the Environment Agency. (PA)

What to do if your home is at risk of flood

Homes at risk of flooding are urged to follow advice from the Environment Agency.

  • If there is a flood alert, prepare by packing medicines and insurance and other important documents and visit the flood warning information service.
  • If there is a flood warning, act by moving family, pets and belongings to safety, and turn off gas, water and electricity.
  • If there is a severe flood warning, survive immediate danger by following the advice of emergency services or calling 999 if needed.

The EA estimates 5.2 million properties in England are at risk from floods.

The agency said it has 250 mobile pumps and 6,000 trained staff ready to take action to protect communities from flooding this winter, while construction and repair of flood defences has also continued throughout the year.

Caroline Douglass, executive director of flooding at the Environment Agency, warned:  “Now is the time for us all to be vigilant, not complacent, about flooding.”

She added: “We can’t prevent all flooding – climate change is only increasing that risk – and today’s figures show that while some people are prepared, many are not.

“It’s vitally important for the public to go online and check if they are at risk, sign up for Environment Agency warnings, and know what to do if flooding hits.”