TAPPING a postcode into a website can reveal whether YOUR home is at risk from flooding.
The Environment Agency (EA) flood map was developed after Britain became swamped in October 2000. This area saw people rescued from their homes on the banks of the River Dee in Farndon and 1,000 people evacuated from Bangor-on-Dee.
The EA says it cannot fight nature so it is crucial for people to be prepared - and that's where the map comes in.
Mark Pugh, team leader of flood defence, at the EA's Buckley office, said: 'I've waded past people's houses and they have been hanging out of their windows asking 'when will the water subside?' It's quite shocking. You live in a pretty house by a river and wake up one morning to find the downstairs under 6ft of water.'
Residents who input their postcode only to find their home surrounded by a sea of blue will be understandably alarmed, but things may not be as bad as they appear.
The map shows the worst case scenario - one-in-100-year storm conditions and one-in-1,000-year storm conditions combined.
And at the moment the map, which is in its infancy, does not show flood defence measures. In Chester, defences by the tidal Dee are designed to protect residents in low-lying areas.
Other limitations of the map are that it doesn't cover surface-water flooding due to drains not being able to cope - because this responsibility falls to the water companies - and it can't predict flooding due to a high water table.
Nevertheless, Mr Pugh believes the map will be a significant help.
Big mistakes have been made in the past, such as building housing and shopping centres in the middle of flood plains. Floods in Selby, North Yorkshire, in 2000 illustrated the dangers involved with building on flood plains. When the River Ouse burst its banks it flooded more than 100 homes on one estate. On a neighbouring estate only three homes were flooded because planners had insisted floor levels be raised.
One downside for householders is that the map may lead to higher insurance premiums in areas deemed to be at risk. In theory, it could also work the other way, too, but Mr Pugh remains sceptical about the chances of insurance firms lowering prices.