Incidents ranging from severe weather warnings, volcanic eruptions, plume predictions and tidal alerts all pose problems for society.
The Met Office provides a number of services to help authorities prepare for, and respond to, emergencies. The weather can be the cause of an emergency and/or have a major influence on its impact, such as in chemical releases, nuclear incidents, large fires or biological hazards, including Foot and Mouth Disease.
Legislation supporting the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 states that Category 1 responders must have regard to the Met Office's duty to warn the public, and provide information and advice, if an emergency is likely to occur or has taken place.
This duty includes issuing severe weather warnings and plume predictions, together with tidal alerts (provided by the Flood Forecasting Centre). Linked to these services is advice, available from teams of Met Office forecasters, specialist scientists and advisors, on the interpretation and impact of the weather during an emergency. A UK-wide team of Public Weather Service Advisors from the Met Office also assists in the development and maintenance of risk registers, inputs to exercise and planning processes and attends incident command and control centres.
In addition we provide dedicated forecasts and warnings to Category 1 responders. For example in addition to the National Severe Weather Warning Service, we provide the Environment Agency and Scottish Environment Protection Agency with detailed rainfall forecasts and warnings for assessing the risk of flooding.