- Red weather warning for rain has ended as conditions improve
- Some residents in Angus airlifted to safety from flooded homes.
- Risk of flooding still high, with more than 30 alerts in place on Saturday.
- Rail companies issue ‘do not travel warning’ due to conditions, while several major road links closed.
- Eight matches in SPFL off due to weather and safety concerns.
- ScotRail services getting back on track after Storm Babet
- Peterculter residents advised to leave their properties
A red weather warning for rainfall issued amid torrential conditions during Storm Babet has ended earlier than expected after improved conditions overnight.
Forecasters have halted the “danger to life” alert for the deadly storm – which has already claimed the lives of two people in Scotland – which was set to end at 6pm on Saturday evening, rather than midnight as originally planned.
Dangerous travel conditions and the potential for fast-flowing and sudden flooding are expected to remain a threat despite the warning easing.
Hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes, with buildings and infrastructure badly damaged and washed away during “unprecedented” rainfall.
Amber rain warnings in the east and north of the country will now also end at 6pm and 10pm respectively.
A yellow rain warning covering the entire east coast remains in place until midnight on Saturday, the Met Office said.
The revisions come after the Scottish Government’s Resilience Room met to discuss the “exceptional” levels of rain that had fallen in parts of Scotland during the weekend.
The meeting, chaired by Justice Secretary Angela Constance, heard parts of Scotland are still in the midst of dealing with the severe flooding caused by Storm Babet while some rivers remain at hazardous levels.
The storm has cut power from more than 33,000 customers in Scotland but the vast majority are now reconnected, energy firm Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) said.
As of shortly after 5pm, work continues to reconnect 700 properties.
Andy Smith, operations director at SSEN Distribution said: “Our focus now is getting the last few remaining customers reconnected. This storm was very severe, but our response has been quick, and it has been big. We brought in considerable extra operational capacity to respond to issues, including teams from our contractors and network partners.
“We’re still in touch with the most vulnerable people in our community, and we’re putting support on the ground where it’s needed the most. Our focus remains restoring power as quickly as possible, and that is the priority for all of us at SSEN tonight.
“For any customers still without supplies who’ve had no contact with us, please call us on 105 to report your fault. It may a very localised issue, not visible on our central systems.”
Three people have already lost their lives to the storm while a major search for a missing person continues.
A 56-year-old man was killed on Thursday near Forfar in Angus – which is in the red warning zone – when a tree hit his van.
Earlier that day, a 57-year-old woman died after being swept into a river in Angus.
A red weather warning for rainfall issued amid torrential conditions during Storm Babet will end earlier than expected – but warnings over severe flooding remain.https://t.co/iRjuXJ7dXA pic.twitter.com/TNPyHCanIl— STV News (@STVNews) October 21, 2023
In England, a man in his 60s died after getting caught in fast-flowing flood water from a brook that breached a road in Shropshire.
Some residents in the Peterculter area of Aberdeen are being advised to leave their properties as a precaution in case of flooding, Aberdeen City Council said.
It comes after sandbags were deployed at Culter Burn at around 4pm on Saturday afternoon, however water levels have risen futher.
Police are assisting with knocking on doors in the Millbank Terrace, Millside Road and Culter Den area of the suburb.
The council said that a rest centre has been set up at Culter Village Hall.
People in up to 100 homes across Angus had been rescued from their flooded houses by Saturday afternoon, with some airlifted out.
Jacqui Semple, head of risk, resilience and safety for Angus Council, said people were rescued from between 80 to 100 homes across the region.
In Bridge of Dun, residents were airlifted out via helicopter, while in other areas those stranded were rescued by boats, including canoes.
No-one is now thought to be stranded.
Ms Semple praised the response from those in Angus and elsewhere, saying offers of accommodation have come from the local area and further afield.
She said: “Fortunately the Met Office update and our Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) update this morning is showing that we have an improving picture and the red warnings and our amber warnings they have been reduced in timescales to 6pm.
“So that means we are looking at definite improvements in our river levels.”
She added: “We’re not out of the woods by a long shot. There’s still a lot of rain to come through, but less so, and there is still a lot of water lying right across Angus. Lots of water in the upper catchments that will still have to come down into our rivers.”
Sandbags have been placed along a breached river wall in Brechin to try to prevent another deluge after the town was hit by “devastating” flooding from Storm Babet.
River Street and nearby areas in the town were inundated with water when the adjacent River South Esk burst its banks in the early hours of Friday.
The water had receded on Saturday, but the area was still at risk of flooding amid a second red weather warning for heavy rain in Angus.
The street was left strewn with debris and covered in silt on Saturday, with many homes damaged by water in the lower floors.
The unprecedented water levels of the river overtopped a flood defence wall installed in 2016, and an older section of the river wall was swept away.
Scotland’s First Minister urged people to heed the red weather warning and evacuate if instructed.
Humza Yousaf posted on X, formerly Twitter: “A red weather Warning remains in place for Angus & parts of Aberdeenshire.
“Please comply with the advice being given, particularly if you are asked to evacuate, it is for your own safety.
“We continue to engage with local partners & emergency services to co-ordinate our response.”
‘Do not travel’ warning
On Friday, Train operator ScotRail has warned disruption to services could last until Sunday due to the impact of Storm Babet.
Routes that are currently closed will not re-open unless it is deemed safe to do so.
In an update on Saturday, the rail operator said that the vast majority of services are getting back to normal much more quickly than expected following the severe disruption caused by Storm Babet.
The following routes which were previously closed are now able to run:
– Glasgow/Edinburgh – Inverness via Perth.
– Glasgow – Perth
– Perth – Dundee, a very limited service will run from early evening.
– Inverness – Elgin
– Inverkeithing – Dundee via Kirkcaldy. Services are running hourly from 3.40pm.
– Inverkeithing – Perth via Dunfermline. There is planned engineering works between Inverkeithing and Edinburgh where a bus replacement will operate.
– Glasgow – Oban / Fort William / Mallaig.
The routes still closed are as follows:
– Aberdeen – Elgin
– Aberdeen – Dundee
– Far North and Kyle of Lochalsh lines remain closed due to planned engineering works.
Other routes across the network are still being impacted by precautionary speed restrictions, meaning services may be subject to delay or cancellation.
ScotRail expects a normal timetable to be in place across the network from tomorrow except there will be no trains from Aberdeen – Dundee and Aberdeen – Elgin.
Passengers should only travel if necessary on the routes affected by the weather warnings, but those who are making journeys are asked to check with their transport provider for the latest updates, ScotRail said.
David Simpson, ScotRail’s service delivery director, said: “Thanks to the efforts of Scotland’s Railway’s engineers, the vast majority of services are back up and running across the country.
“The impact of Storm Babet has been extremely challenging.
“We know the impact the withdrawal of some train services has, but our first priority is always to ensure the safety of our staff and customers.
“We want to thank customers for their continuing patience and understanding as we make all possible efforts to inspect routes that are still closed for damage, before reopening them when it is judged safe to do so.
“Please continue to keep an eye on our website, mobile app, or social media channels for live updates before travelling.”
Rail operator LNER said none of its services were operating north of Edinburgh, adding, due to road closures, rail replacements were not available.
In addition, Transport Scotland said the A90 would remain closed until at least Sunday morning so that checks can be carried out during Dundee’s high tide at around 8pm.
High water levels on the A92 mean the clean-up operation cannot begin at the moment, however it is hoped experts can gain access on Saturday evening, road bosses said.
Sepa issued more than 30 flood warnings on Saturday morning across the country.
Scottish Flood Forecast – 2023-10-21— SEPAFlood (@SEPAFlood) October 21, 2023
Today's 3-day Scottish Flood Forecast is now available on our website.
Find out if flooding is forecast in your area, what impacts it may have, and what actions you can take in advance.
These included 12 regional flood alerts , 19 localised flood warnings and five severe flood warnings.
Among the most severe are:
- Caithness and Sutherland – River levels will respond during Saturday and are expected to be higher than on Friday with significant disruption likely.
- Moray – River levels along the lower Spey will be higher than Friday, peaking at similar levels to those experienced on the October 8 and 9 with some disruption expected, including around Spey Bay.
- North Aberdeenshire – Rivers will peak at similar or slightly higher levels than on Friday, with disruption likely.
- Aberdeenshire / Aberdeen – Rivers will peak during Saturday at similar levels to Friday, impacts are likely to be similar to those already experienced.
- Tayside, Dundee and Central – River levels are expected to remain high today with any ongoing flooding disruption likely to continue. However, levels will not rise to those seen in the past couple of days and will start to fall from Sunday onwards.
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