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Severe Weather

Scotland has experienced some erratic and severe weather conditions in recent years.

Learning about weather patterns and understanding their impact is key to developing resilient learners who can share their knowledge and act appropriately.

Contexts for learning

This context allows learners to study issues affecting wider society including climate change, the financial costs of severe weather to businesses and individuals, and how severe weather can affect more vulnerable groups in our society.

There are strong curriculum links to health and wellbeing, social subjects/Geography, science and STEM subjects, and associated activities can provide a context for developing literacy and technology skills.

PDF file: Curriculum links - Severe weather (519 KB)

Opportunities for partnership working

Potential candidates for partnership working include meteorologists, local authority planning officers, members of the emergency services and charities such as Age Scotland.

Students might wish to consider volunteering during the winter months. This could include opportunities with local councils, or informal volunteering such as helping out elderly neighbours.


Preparing for winter weather - Learning journey

This learning journey focuses on preparing for and responding to severe winter weather in Scotland. It is accompanied by a selection of learner activities and challenges.

Understanding severe winter weather - Learning journey

This learning journey looks at the variety of severe weather conditions experienced in Scotland and ways in which we can be warned about them.

Severe storms - Learning journey

This learning journey focuses on severe storms and the effect they have on individuals and communities in Scotland. Learners consider measures they can take to prepare themselves and others in order to limit the damage severe storms might cause.

Are you ready for winter?

Powerpoint presentation.

Winter Preparations Presentation

We have information from the Met Office, SEPA and Sustrans. Discover what the weather will be like this winter, what you can do to prepare for flooding and how you can get your bike ready for winter.

Family Action Plan

A practical guide for children to help get their family ready.

Warning Leaflets

Series of leaflets produced by the Met Office.

Winter Cycling Guide

Advice on cycling in the winter from Sustrans.

Rapid Response Engineering Challenge - Case study

The Rapid Response Engineering Challenge (RREC) is a problem solving activity for S1 and S2 pupils to help them understand the work of civil engineers, particularly in the event of a disaster.

Climate Change

A short film from SNIFFER explaining how climate change will impact on Scotland

Climate Change Impacts

Download these visuals to identify key climate change impacts and risks as well as the adaptation measures that could contribute to a climate ready Scotland.

Ready for Winter

Series of films looking at how to be ready for winter weather.

Useful links

You might find the following links useful when studying severe weather in the context of emergency planning and resilience education.

Ready for winter?: Six useful activities from the British Red Cross to help young people prepare for winter.
BBC Learning Zone class clip - Introduction to weather: A video clip in which a song and images are used to describe the many different types of weather, and how people prepare for expected weather conditions.
BBC Learning Zone class clips - Severe weather forecast: A period of cold weather and heavy snow is predicted in this forecast from the BBC Weather Centre's Rob McElwee.
Ready Scotland - Winter weather: Information on preparing for and dealing with emergencies involving severe weather.
Ready Scotland - Emergency kit check list: A guide to creating your own emergency kit to help prepare for a variety of emergency situations.

Ready Scotland - How to be ready to home

Independent - The big freeze has Britain in its grip: A news story from 1 December 2010 detailing how severe weather conditions across the UK affected lives and businesses.
BBC - News - Scottish winter death rate lowest in 20 years: A news story from 27 October 2011 detailing a drop in winter deaths in Scotland in the winter of 2010/11 despite severe weather conditions.
BBC - News - Severe weather causes damage around UK: An article from 3 January 2012 about a severe winter storm that caused widespread damage across the UK.
YouTube - Be prepared for winter: A public information film from Edinburgh City Council advising on the best way to clear snow during severe winter weather.
YouTube - Get ready for winter: Lynne spent 15 hours trying to drive from Stirling to Glasgow in severe weather in 2010. This video shows the challenges she faced, the people who helped her and how she has prepared for winter driving since.
YouTube - Ready for winter advert: An advert produced by the Ready Scotland campaign to encourage people to take simple steps to prepare for winter weather.
Flickr - Winter weather slide show: Images of winter weather from across Scotland.
BBC weather: The weather section of the BBC website including up-to-date forecasts and weather warnings from around the UK.
Met Office Education - Resources: A range of DVDs, posters and publications.
Met Office - Case study - Boscastle: When very heavy rain caused two rivers to burst their banks near the village of Boscastle, people had to act quickly to survive.
Met Office - Being prepared for winter: Useful information from the Met Office to help you keep up to date with the latest forecasts and warnings.
Met Office - Past weather events: Browse a list of notable weather events from the Met Office since 1990.