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Scotland begins severe weather clean-up

Published: 6 Dec 2015 14:56

Recovery begins but continued vigilance needed.

Scotland this morning moved into the recovery phase after yesterday's severe weather, a meeting of the Scottish Government's resilience committee has heard today.

The third emergency meeting on flooding in the last twenty-four hours was chaired by Deputy First Minister John Swinney, who was updated by representatives of affected local authorities, utility partners, emergency services, SEPA and the Met Office.

With conditions easing, transport and utility companies reported that all necessary steps are now being taken to assess and repair any damage done by the severe storm conditions.

In Hawick and Newcastleton, residents who were last night evacuated from their homes will begin the process of assessing damage and moving back into their properties as soon as possible.

A total of 7 flood alerts and 48 flood warnings currently remain in place in Scotland, including one severe flood warning for Hawick.

The Deputy First Minister said:

"Over the last twenty-four hours Scotland has faced torrential rain and severe winds. This has been most acute in the Borders, Dumfries and Galloway and Tayside, where some residents were evacuated and we know there has been some damage to property and infrastructure.

"Thankfully, it does appear the weather is now returning to normal, meaning the recovery phase is now underway. Experts will be at affected sites throughout the day, assessing damage and beginning repairs.

"However, although water levels are dropping, they remain very high and continued vigilance is needed. These water levels can in themselves be dangerous so I continue to urge people to pay heed to road closures and weather warnings, as well as any local advice provided by police or the fire service.

"Localised difficulties do remain in some parts of the country and SEPA, local authorities and emergency services continue to work there to mitigate the worst of the impact.

"My thanks go to all those who have worked so hard overnight in such difficult conditions, and to all the public services and other agencies who have put in extraordinary efforts to try to keep the disruption and damage to a minimum."

The Deputy First Minister, Infrastructure Secretary Keith Brown, Flooding Minister Dr Aileen McLeod and Transport Minister Derek Mackay were joined by key responders including representatives from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, local resilience partners, Police Scotland, Fire and Rescue Service, Transport Scotland and operating companies.

MART (Multi Agency Response Team) partners have been activated and present in the TrafficScotland control centre and will remain operational until after Monday's rush hour.

Dr McLeod said:

"Severe weather across Scotland over the weekend has caused disruption and some damage, but it is clear that the impact of that has been considerably curbed by the first-class emergency response by a number of agencies, including SEPA.

"They continue to monitor the situation closely and I encourage everyone to monitor SEPA's Floodline website for the latest flood information and to sign up to receive Floodline warnings direct to their phone.

"Since yesterday, our emergency services and huge numbers of volunteers have been dealing with flooding issues in their local area. I would like to record my thanks to them all as they continue to play an important role in the recovery process."

Marc Becker, Hydrology Duty Manager at SEPA said:

"This has been a particularly severe event with multiple parts of Scotland feeling the impacts of flooding. The outlook is improving, rivers have peaked and will be falling back through the rest of the day, giving us some respite. However, the impact of flooding with be with us for a while yet, although we're moving into a recovery phase. Areas of standing water will persist and so anyone travelling will need to remain vigilant.

"This event has seen some of the highest river flows for a considerable period of time. The River Tay at Perth peaked at levels not seen since 2006 and the Tevoit at Hawick was the second highest in 30 years of record. The Teith at Callander was the second-highest in a 45 year record. The team at SEPA are continuing to monitor the situation and watching river levels closely.

"The weather outlook for the coming week us unsettled so we would advise everyone to keep an eye on our flood update pages at www.floodline.sepa.org.uk/floodupdates or call 0345 988 1188."

Notes to editors

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/

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

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

Rail, ferries and air users should check with individual service operators' websites

CalMac travellers should check the website: www.calmac.co.uk for the latest information. The latest information on that service can be found at www.argyllferries.co.uk