York prepares: River Ouse set to rise to record 2000 levels – council deploys 1,000 sandbags

Sandbags delivered in Bishopthorpe. Photograph: City of York Council

The level of the River Ouse is set to rise to the record level last seen in 2000 – and defences are being shored up across York in preparation.

The Environment Agency (EA) has confirmed levels on the River Ouse in York are forecast to be close to the levels in 2000.

Current forecasts from the EA are showing a potential river level of up to 5.2m and a worst case level of a potential 5.4m – which is the highest level eyt recorded, on 4 November, 2000. After Storm Ciara last week the river peaked at 4.35m.


The EA expects the river to peak on the evening of Monday 17 February.

Conditions remain unsettled with further rain forecast over the next 48 hours which could result in changes to the levels and peak timings.

City of York Council said: “On Boxing Day 2015, there was lots of rainfall coming down the River Foss but the EA are not expecting a similar situation this weekend.”

Pumps in place

Flood defences on Tower Street. Photograph: Gwen Swinburn on Twitter

The multi-agency flood plan has been enacted. The flood gates remain closed and the Foss Barrier is in operation.


As of Saturday 15 February the council has:

  • deployed over 1,000 sand bags and 200 one tonne sand bags to create new flood defences at Bishopthorpe
  • strengthened the Peckitt Street defences
  • put additional sandbags and pump equipment at Tower Gardens
  • raised the Clementhorpe defences
  • put additional pumps and defences at the A19 and Germany Beck junction
  • following on from earlier in the week, our front line teams have continued sweeping streets
  • have cleared out 300 gullies following Storm Ciara in high risk areas of the city to ensure drains work as efficiently as possible.

This evening teams will be working with residents in Fulford and Fishergate to sandbag vulnerable properties.

Tomorrow morning’s focus will be on the highest risk properties in Naburn, Clementhorpe, Fishergate and Bishopthorpe.

Monitoring the situation

The river in flood after Storm Ciara. Photograph: YorkMix
Leader of the council Cllr Keith Aspden said:

  • With significant rainfall and strong winds forecast this weekend, and the unpredictable levels of snow melt, we are closely monitoring the situation with partners.

    We have spent today strengthening our flood defences and will tomorrow be helping the residents in the most at risk locations with the provision of sandbags to protect their homes and businesses.

    And we’re taking precautions to keep our fantastic city open so residents and businesses can enjoy all York has to offer.

Useful informatoin

Monitor river levels here
York council flood page

The council provides sandbags to communities at immediate risk of flooding – they don’t need to contact us.

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

Travis Perkins – Foss Islands Road or Clifton Moor
Jewsons – Foss Islands Road or Green Lane Trading Estate
James Burrel – Clifton Moor
B&Q – Hull Road or Clifton Moor
Wickes – Clifton Moor
Buildbase – James Street
Keyline – Osbaldwick