The new system will focus on serious events such as extreme weather, warning the public when there is a risk to life. The announcement comes as the Met Office warned Britons who live in “low-lying properties” to be prepared for evacuation due to flood risks.
The emergency alerts will be broadcast from mobile phone masts and will send urgent messages to more than 85 percent of mobile phones in the affected area.
The messages in the alert system will give details about the peril faced – whether that is local flooding, storms or wildfires – and tell the public what to do and how to seek help.
Ian Cameron, Director of Markets at the Met Office, said that the alerts would be “imperative” as the UK prepared for more extreme weather events.
Mr Cameron said: “The right messaging helps people take action to stay safe. It is clear that we are seeing an increase in the number of extreme weather events in the UK and overseas.
Mr Malthouse said: “We will launch a new public emergency alerts system in the Autumn which will focus on extreme weather, revolutionising our ability to ‘warn and inform’ people who are in significant and immediate danger.”
The alert system would be accompanied the addition of a National Resilience Framework Team which would look at the government’s approach to risk while collecting live data to improve future responses to emergencies.
The news comes after record-breaking heatwaves have been followed by the risk of intense flooding in some parts of the country.
Dani Suri, the Met Office’s chief forecaster, warned that a lack of rain over the last couple of months meant that flooding was very likely in some areas.
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He said: “With no meaningful rainfall in some southern locations since June, soils in these areas have become baked by the sun turning them into hard almost impenetrable surfaces.
“Any rainfall in these areas won’t be able to soak away and instead it will wash off soils and other hard surfaces, creating flash flooding in some areas.”
The Met Office has also issued Yellow thunderstorm warnings for parts of the UK.
This will be the first rainfall that some parts of southern England have seen in months, however the Met Office warned that it would not be enough to make up for the uncharacteristically dry summer.