Preparation is everything, and when it comes to storms and floods this is doubly true. Dealing with flood or wind damage can be a very costly and stressful experience, but there are steps you can take so you are as ready as possible to deal with such conditions. While having the right insurance policy - be it holiday home insurance, unoccupied property insurance or one of the various other types of insurance on the market - is of course very prudent, on a practical level there are a number of other precautions you can take.

There are various agencies in the UK that have been set up especially to keep the public informed about incoming storms and floods. Keeping tabs on the Met Office's website is a very effective way of keeping up to date with the weather - weather which in the UK can change very quickly indeed. If you're a Twitter user, you might find it easier to keep updated by following @metoffice.

The Environment Agency website provides information about flood warnings currently in force, together with data on river and sea levels in your part of the country. By signing up to the Flood Warnings Direct service on 0845 988 1188 you can receive warnings by phone, text, email or fax. Once again, you can follow the Environment Agency's twitter account - @EnvAgency. There are also Environment Agency Twitter accounts for the various regions of the UK.