Weather Warnings guide

This article contains information & advice regarding risks that do not appear on the Risk Register.

The Met Office is responsible for issuing weather warnings, which warn of impacts caused by severe weather. The warnings are designed to let everyone (from businesses, emergency responders and the general public) know what weather is in store in the coming days. The warnings also give details on some of the potential and expected impacts associated with these. The Met Office is a 24 hour organisation and therefore warnings can be issued at any point - even Christmas Day!

Warnings are provided up to 7 days in advance for rain, thunderstorms, win, ice, snow, extreme heat, fog and lightning. Warnings will contain a headline, details on what to expect, advice and guidance on what to do and further details.

What do the Colour mean? 

The warnings are always given a colour which helps everyone understand the severity. The colours range from Yellow to Red. Yellow and Amber warning range in impact levels and likelihood and therefore not every Yellow warning is the same. Impacts from weather warnings tend to include damage to property, travel delays and cancellations, loss of water supplies, power cuts and, in the most severe cases, bring a danger to life.

The warnings are shown in a matrix with likelihood on the Y axis (up the side) and Impact on the X axis (along the bottom). Checking where a warning is on the matrix can help with understanding it better. 

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The Met Office provides a brief on each of the weather warning colours below: 

Yellow Warning

Yellow warnings can be issued for a range of weather situations. Many are issued when it is likely that the weather will cause some low level impacts, including some disruption to travel in a few places. Many people may be able to continue with their daily routine, but there will be some that will be directly impacted and so it is important to assess if you could be affected. Other yellow warnings are issued when the weather could bring much more severe impacts to the majority of people but the certainty of those impacts occurring is much lower. It is important to read the content of yellow warnings to determine which weather situation is being covered by the yellow warning.

Amber Warning

There is an increased likelihood of impacts from severe weather, which could potentially disrupt your plans. This means there is the possibility of travel delays, road and rail closures, power cuts and the potential risk to life and property. You should think about changing your plans and taking action to protect yourself and your property. You may want to consider the impact of the weather on your family and your community and whether there is anything you need to do ahead of the severe weather to minimise the impact.

Red Warning

Dangerous weather is expected and, if you haven’t already done so, you should take action now to keep yourself and others safe from the impact of the severe weather. It is very likely that there will be a risk to life, with substantial disruption to travel, energy supplies and possibly widespread damage to property and infrastructure. You should avoid travelling, where possible, and follow the advice of the emergency services and local authorities.

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