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Heavy rain continues

Published: 3 Jan 2016 15:32

Flood warnings remain in place as rivers continue to rise.

The Scottish Government's resilience committee met again today, as people prepare to return to work over the next few days.

Further rain is forecast with amber weather warnings in place, primarily affecting Grampian, Angus, Perth and Kinross, and the eastern fringes of Stirlingshire.

SEPA is advising that several rivers in Aberdeenshire, Angus and Tayside will continue to rise overnight. These will remain high for some time but the vast majority will not reach levels seen during Storm Frank.

There may be some transport disruption due to the ongoing conditions. Operating companies are monitoring the trunk roads carefully. Repairs are being carried out on the West Coast and Highland mainlines and shuttle bus services are in place.

At Crathie and Braemar, BT continue to have engineers and contractors working to restore communications cables, and hope to do so by late afternoon.

Meanwhile the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is helping householders in Deeside with sandbags and issuing leaflets to all householders in Ballater on home safety, fire safety and electrical safety.

The Scottish Government Resilience meeting was attended by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister John Swinney, Transport Minister Derek Mackay, Environment Minister Aileen McLeod and Community Safety Minister Paul Wheelhouse.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

"People will be returning to work in the coming days and all services are working together to make sure the unusually high levels of rain that we are seeing cause as little disruption as possible.

"The Scottish Government's resilience committee remains in constant contact with the emergency services and relevant agencies as we continue to support affected communities and businesses.

"On the transport network, the main issue continues to be the West Coast and Highland mainlines and the rail industry is doing all it can to get these operational again following Storm Frank. While the repairs are being carried out diversionary rail routes and shuttle bus services will continue to be used. All of the latest information is available on the rail operators' websites and Twitter feeds and those intending to use these routes should factor longer journey times into their plans.

"On the trunk roads, our operating companies remain alert to the conditions and we are monitoring the network from our control centre in South Queensferry. Traffic Scotland continues to be the go-to source for information about the trunk road network and will have the latest on real-time conditions.

"Although the current conditions are not as serious as Storm Frank, all of our partners are vigilant to the on-going risks. Help is at hand for those affected, and I would encourage anyone concerned to stay safe, monitor SEPA's Floodline website and sign up to receive Floodline warnings to their phone."

Vincent Fitzsimons, SEPA Hydrology Duty Manager said:

"Persistent rain has been predominantly affecting the north-east of the country since Friday night. Rivers have been rising since Saturday and flood warnings have been issued. It's important to note that the rain is less intense but more prolonged than during storm Frank. This means that rivers will rise more slowly but then stay high for much longer - from Sunday through till Tuesday. The peak for most areas will be on Sunday night and Monday morning.

"The main focus of concern is for river levels around the North East. We're keeping a particularly close eye on river levels around Kintore-Inverurie, Brechin and Aberdeen, but also on communities throughout the northeast, the Borders and Caithness. As always, we are working closely with partner organisations to give local authorities the latest information in areas where river banks and defences have been damaged by Storm Frank, for example in Ballater. In addition, strong winds along the East coast means that the public need to take care from wave impacts particularly in Aberdeenshire, Caithness, and the Northern Isles."

Notes to editors

The Scottish Government's resilience arrangements have been running 24/7 and will continue to provide Ministers with regular updates.

For SEPA live flood updates see www.sepa.org.uk/floodupdates or call Floodline 0345 988 1188.

To sign up for free local flood warnings and regional alerts, or for more information and advice on preparing for flooding, use SEPA's Floodline site: www.floodlinescotland.org.uk or call Floodline 0345 988 1188.

Members of the public can also use the recently launched Report-a-Flood site http://www.floodlinescotland.org.uk/report-a-flood

The full alerts, including the Chief Forecaster's Assessment and a map showing the areas included in the alerts, are available at: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/warnings/

For real time journey information visit www.trafficscotland.org, follow @trafficscotland on Twitter or call 0800 028 14 14.

The Scottish Government's Ready Scotland website provides the public with a range of advice and information on preparing for winter weather. Further information is available at www.readyscotland.org

Members of the public can also contact the Scottish Flood Forum, a charitable organisation funded by the Scottish Government that provides support for and represents those who are affected by or are at risk of flooding http://www.scottishfloodforum.org or call 01698 839021.