Cookie Consent by Free Privacy Policy Generator website
People and communities

What to do during a flood

The River Ouse and River Foss pose a flood risk in York during and after periods of heavy rainfall.

There is a range of information on what to do, the support available, and how to help during a flood in York:

Flood warnings and levels

The Environment Agency's flood information service is updated regularly. Their current flood warning is refreshed every 10 minutes:

Find out what flood warning symbols mean.

Sign up for flood warnings by phone, email or text message from the Environment Agency if you live, work or have a business in a flood-risk area.

Flood levels for the next 36 hours are published on the EA website.

Top of page

Travel and parking during floods

During floods in York Traffic Management Plans and necessary diversions are put place, see our list of temporary road closures for the latest traffic and travel information.

Where water affects roads you should:

  • not enter or travel through the water
  • leave extra space for all vehicles
  • report surface water and drainage problems
  • be aware of more cyclists and pedestrians using roads (while riverside cycle routes and footpaths are affected)

Visit iTravel York for information on roads and bus routes that are susceptible to flooding.

Cycle and pedestrian routes

People who are making essential journeys during floods should take extra care to avoid flooded areas, such as riverside paths and cycle ways.

Visit iTravel York for information on cycle paths that are susceptible to flooding.

Some of York's riverside parks regularly become unusable when river levels are high, including:

Top of page

Support for residents and businesses

Register for council updates so we can keep you updated on services areas of interest to you.

You should avoid entering flood waters, as there may be hidden dangers like sharp objects, raised manhole covers and pollution.

View 'What to do before, during and after a flood' (Environment Agency) for practical advice on protecting yourself and your property.

If you're evacuated due to flooding, we'll provide safe accommodation for you.

Get further advice about protecting homes and businesses from flooding from Yorkshire Flood Resilience.

Top of page

Support for vulnerable people

If you know of someone who may be in need of social care and support, contact our Adult Social Care Team via email: or telephone: 01904 555111, between 8.30am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.

Outside of these times please contact the Emergency Duty Team for assistance.

Top of page

Emotional support

The Major Incident Response Team (MIRT) have trained volunteers on hand to provide emotional support to those affected by incidents such as flooding. The MIRT team are here to help, email:

Top of page

Flooding insurance advice

Contact your insurer if you've been affected by flooding.

Read advice for those recovering from floods from the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

Flood Re is a joint Government and insurance industry initiative which aims to help insurers help householders at risk of flooding.

Top of page


Find out how to use sandbags for flood protection from the Environment Agency.

We’re unlikely to be able to provide sandbags or other defences to other communities. our sandbag policy details how we prioritise use of our sandbag stock:

  1. repairing existing flood defences
  2. preventing flooding to large areas of residential and commercial property
  3. protecting utilities, hospitals, schools, residential homes and emergency services buildings
  4. critical transport routes and essential roads
  5. individual residential or commercial properties

Sandbags from our stock will only be made available to individual residential or commercial properties if:

  • there's an immediate threat of flood
  • we'll have enough stock remaining to continue protecting priority areas
  • flood waters aren't expected to rise above existing defences in priority areas

We may charge you for providing sandbags, or any help to build flood defences, at your residential or commercial property.

You should be able to buy sand and bags from the following places:

Sandbags aren't available for collection from our Hazel Court depot.

If we've provided you with sandbags and you’d like to keep them over the winter period please store them in a safe place on your property.

If you’d like us to collect your sandbags, please contact our Customer Services Team on telephone: 01904 551550, or email: and we'll arrange collection.

When flood defences are removed any plastic sandbags will be recycled; where possible we’ll reuse sand at our depot. Contaminated sandbags will be disposed of through our contaminated waste removal.

Top of page

Volunteering to help

We’re very grateful to have a network of registered volunteers working alongside the Major Incident Response Team in times of flood.

If you want to volunteer, register with 'Ready for Everything' online.

Once registered, if you’re needed to provide voluntary support, you’ll get a text message from us (or from the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum), with all the details. Please don’t attend flooded areas and flood defences unless you have registered to volunteer. You could be putting yourself at risk, and could distract the teams at work.

Top of page

Localised flooding or surface water flooding

Heavy rain can sometimes cause localised flooding when:

  • drains are unable to cope with the amount of surface water
  • leaves and litter block gullies during severe weather

Report water and drainage problems online.

Top of page

Also see

icon of a measuring ruler next to water levels

Find information on how we support residents and businesses to prepare for flooding in York.

Preparing for flooding
icon of a measuring ruler next to water levels

Support for residents and businesses who have been affected by flooding.

What to do after a flood