Residents are being invited to sign up for free text messages to warn them when their homes are at risk of flooding.
TV weatherman Sean Batty visited Portobello beach today to launch Scotland’s first targeted coastal flood warning service.
Granton, Leith and Portobello Esplanade are among 28 new flood warning areas set up by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) along the east coast.
The initiative will cover more than 4000 at-risk properties in Edinburgh and more than 2000 in East Lothian.
Anyone in the 28 areas – including those who live in, work or travel through them – can register for advance flood warnings, in the form of texts or recorded messages which can be sent direct to their phone 24 hours a day.
Sepa says warnings will give people between three and six hours’ notice of potential flooding, allowing them valuable time to take action to protect their families, homes and businesses from the damage.
The alerts would also enable people travelling through affected areas to make alternative travel arrangements if their usual route was disrupted.
Mr Batty said: “Coastal flooding in Scotland can be caused by storms and tidal surges.
“As a result, homes, businesses and lives can be devastated in a matter of minutes.
“An advance warning service makes sure that people living in at-risk areas have as much preparation time as possible.”
The new scheme builds on Sepa’s Floodline service, which has seen more than 14,000 people – mainly living near rivers – sign up since its launch less than two years ago.
Dr David Pirie, Sepa’s director of science and strategy, said: “We are delighted to launch the new coastal flood warning service for Edinburgh.
“It represents a major investment in building community resilience to coastal flooding.
“As we saw before Christmas this can cause significant disruption and damage so it’s vital we are aware and prepared for it.”
Sepa’s flood warnings are based on a sophisticated monitoring system, updated by a team of experienced hydrologists who use weather forecasts, rainfall data and tidal forecasts to predict the likelihood and time of floods occurring at a street by street level.
Sepa says that across Scotland, there are around 125,000 properties at risk of flooding, equivalent to one in 22 residential properties and one in 13 business premises.
City environment convener Lesley Hinds, said: “This is a great initiative that will help to quickly inform people if there is a risk of coastal flooding in their local area.
“I would encourage people in areas of the city such as Granton, Leith and Portobello to take advantage of this new service and sign up for advance messages from Floodline.”
People can sign up to receive flood warning messages at www.sepa.org.uk/floodingsignup or by calling 0845 988 1188.
Flood warning areas
• Granton and Leith
• Portobello Esplanade
• Musselburgh Central
• Prestonpans, Cockenzie & Port Seton
• North Berwick
• Dunbar including West Barns