The River Derwent divides Stamford Bridge into two. It rises in the North Yorkshire Moors and flows south west rather than taking a direct route to the North Sea. It eventually joins the River Ouse north of the village of Long Drax, before flowing ultimately into the Humber Estuary.
During 4/5 March 1999, exceptional levels of rainfall were experienced in the Derwent catchment area, reaching 125 millimetres (4.9 in) inside a 24 hour period. The situation was worsened by melting snow which had earlier accumulated on the North York Moors.
The conditions deteriorated and by Sunday 7 March large areas of Stamford Bridge were under water and a final flooding depth of approximately 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) was recorded by Monday 8 March.
At the height of the flooding the River Derwent reach the peak of 5m above its normal level, the highest level ever recorded exceeding the previous highest in 1931 by 0.5 metres (20 in).
However, the following year a new record flood level was set. In October 2000 the Derwent again burst its banks and peaked slightly above the 1999 flood level.
Work started in Autumn 2003 to build new flood defences for Stamford Bridge and in Autumn 2004, work on the defences were finished.
The flood defences were breached, and much of the village square was under water, on the morning of 26 June 2007, in the wake of exceptional rainfall over the previous 24 hours.