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Storm brings significant flooding

Published: 5 Dec 2015 16:35

Scottish Borders residents warned not to travel during severe weather.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney today chaired a meeting of the Scottish Government's resilience committee, where ministers were updated on steps being taken to address the impact of flooding on communities and key routes and to minimise the risk of further disruption.

Torrential rain and severe winds have had a significant impact across Scotland over the past 24 hours.

Further alerts are in place for most of Scotland over the next 24 hours (http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/warnings/), meaning more rain for already saturated ground.

Mr Swinney, Infrastructure Secretary Keith Brown, Transport Minister Derek Mackay, Flooding Minister Aileen McLeod and Community Safety Minister Paul Wheelhouse were joined by key responders including representatives from SEPA, 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.

There has been extensive flooding across Scotland, including the most significant flooding on the River Tay in 12 years. On the M90 the local operating company was deployed to pump and clear water. The A82 and M9 have also been affected. On the M8 (W) at Bathgate a lorry struck the central reservation, causing delays.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

"The Scottish Government's Resilience Team (SGoRR) has been in contact with the Met Office throughout the week, receiving regular updates on the developing weather system and its potential impacts.

"The predicted weather warnings of yesterday have been accurate and we are now dealing with a very serious situation. We have seen exceptional rainfall, caused in part by rising temperatures and rapid snow melt, combined with gale force winds.

"It is clear that people across Scotland are experiencing some challenging situations and we will do all we can to help them at this stressful time. Local authorities, Police Scotland, SEPA and resilience teams are all involved in the efforts to mitigate the impacts of flooding and weather issues across the country.

"SEPA have issued numerous flood warnings across the country and we would urge people in those areas to pay attention to the up to date information being provided, consider whether you need to travel and take all possible precautions to stay safe, particularly in the worst affected areas."

Environment Minister Aileen McLeod said:

"The situation is being closely monitored by SEPA, and I would 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.

"Our emergency services and an incredible number of volunteers have been out in force today dealing with flooding issues in their local area and we would like to commend their efforts and the important role they play in dealing with this serious situation."

Marc Becker SEPA's Duty Hydrology Manager said:

"Across Scotland we have seen rivers have risen significantly through Saturday and will remain very high throughout Sunday. This is causing widespread agricultural flooding but is now also widely impacting on transport and communities. We are particularly concerned that the flooding situation will deteriorate further this evening in Tayside and particularly the South West of Scotland and the Borders. The risk to communities in Hawick and Newcastleton are such that SEPA, in discussion with emergency responders, have issued severe flood warnings for both towns. Impacts will include widespread property flooding, evacuations, damage to infrastructure and severe transport disruption.

"Currently, it is anticipated that the Tay at Perth will peak at levels not seen since 2006 and the Teviot at Hawick is anticipated to be of a similar scale to the 2005 flood event. Flood levels on the Annan and Esk (Dumfries and Galloway) may also approach record levels "

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