Scotland

Homes flooded in Scotland as heavy rain hits

Firefighters pumping out water on Canal Road in Inverurie
Image caption Firefighters had been working to pump out water on Canal Road in Inverurie

High winds and heavy rain are battering Scotland, with dozens of flood warnings in place across the country.

The Met Office has amber "be prepared" warnings for Moray, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Perthshire and Stirlingshire.

On Monday evening, residents in Canal Road in Inverurie were evacuated from their homes.

Police Scotland said there was potential for other streets in the town to be cleared as water levels continued to rise.

A rest centre for those forced to leave their homes was opened at Inverurie Academy.

Water levels in Kintore were also being monitored with a rest centre opened at the village hall as a precaution.

Image caption Residents in Canal Road in Inverurie were forced to leave their flooded homes
Image caption Flooding in Port Elphinstone got worse as rain continued to fall

Earlier in the day, homes were flooded in Coupar Angus and some properties in Aboyne - including a care home - were evacuated as a precaution.

Police in Aberdeen warned the River Dee at Riverside Drive and Garthdee was close to bursting its banks.

In Perth, the gates were closed at Perth Harbour and on the Queen's Bridge as water levels on the River Tay rise.

Perth and Kinross Council said the river was rising "faster than expected, and higher than previous predictions due to the contribution of surface run off".

Image copyright PPA
Image caption Water levels on the River Tay have been rising faster than expected

Meanwhile, the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful has been closed overnight after a safety inspection following a landslip during last week's storm.

Operators said a large boulder above the road was at risk of falling. The preferred Old Military Road diversion route was also closed due to safety concerns.

More than a dozen roads in Perth and across Tayside were closed by the latest flooding with others "passable with care".

The A83, A984, A23, A93, A923 and A824 are among the major roads in Scotland affected. The latest details can be found on the Traffic Scotland website.

Some of the worst hit roads are around Blairgowrie, where a Coastguard helicopter and specialist firefighters rescued an elderly couple from their home which was in danger of being flooded.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption An elderly couple living near Blairgowrie were rescued by helicopter because their home was in danger of flooding
Image caption Homes have been flooded near Coupar Angus

Firefighters also rescued a woman who was trapped in her car by rising flood water in Inverurie. She was described as safe and well after being helped to dry land following the incident at Keithhall Road.

Several householders in nearby Port Elphinstone were forced to leave their homes after water started coming up through their floorboards.

The council had made 700 sandbags available at its depot in Harlaw Way, Inverurie, with more left at "key areas" in Port Elphinstone.

Watch the latest BBC weather forecast for Scotland.

Police Scotland said Aberdeenshire Council has moved residents from Bonty Court in Aboyne as a precaution, with 37 residents taken to Aboyne Academy which has been opened as a rest centre. Allachburn Care Home has also been evacuated.

Also in Aberdeenshire, the historic Abergeldie Castle is on the brink of collapsing into a swollen River Dee.

The castle's owners were forced to evacuate the 16th century A-listed tower house on Sunday, after the river swept away about 60ft (18m) of land behind the property, leaving it only a few feet from the water.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionRecent drone footage shows Abergeldie Castle teetering on the brink

Aberdeen RNLI volunteers were drafted in to Ballater again to help reconnect telephone wires by using rockets normally used to pass ropes in rescues at sea.

At the request of police, the volunteer crew fired the rockets - with the phone lines attached - 60m across the swollen River Dee to British Telecom engineers who were then able to restore the phone service.

A further yellow warning for rain has been issued for Tuesday affecting Moray, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Tayside and Fife. The rain will fall as snow at times above about 350 metres.

A Met Office spokesman said: "Given the saturated nature of the ground, there is a greater risk of surface water and river flooding than might normally be expected."

On Monday, Sepa issued more than 30 flood warnings, mostly for the Tayside, Angus, and Dundee areas, as well as Aberdeen and Ballater in Aberdeenshire.

The latest high winds and downpours came as Scotland continued to clean up after Storm Frank hit last week.

Vincent Fitzsimons, Sepa's hydrology duty manager, said: "Some rivers have already peaked, most will peak over the course of Monday, but all will stay high throughout Monday and Tuesday.

"As a result, parts of Aberdeenshire, Tayside and Angus are seeing flooding impacts to properties, roads, and farmland, with disruption to travel."

Image caption A car became submerged in flood water near Coupar Angus
Image caption The A93 between Ballater and Braemar in Aberdeenshire has collapsed
Image copyright Paul Spencer
Image caption Damage has been caused to Aberdeenshire's Ballater Caravan park and nearby houses

Network Rail said trains on the west coast mainline would be disrupted for a number of weeks as work to repair the damaged Lamington Viaduct continues until the end of January.

The Trans-Pennine Express and Virgin Train services will be affected - with an additional 90 minutes added to the journey time between Carlisle and Glasgow for Virgin's west coast service.

The Caledonian Sleeper service could also be affected and Network Rail said passengers should check before travelling.

What have we done to make the flooding worse?

Image caption Large sandbags were in place in Ballater in preparation for more flooding

The Scottish government's resilience committee met again on Monday to assess the situation.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: "The last few weeks have seen unusually high levels of rain affecting some areas of Scotland but all relevant bodies are working closely together to minimise disruption as people are returning to work this week."

On Sunday, Mr Swinney defended budgets cuts to the agency responsible for flood warnings in Scotland.

The finance secretary had faced criticism for reducing Sepa's funding by 6%, from £39m to £36.6 million, in his recent draft budget for 2016-17.

Mr Swinney told the Sky News Murnaghan programme: "Sepa has a broad range of responsibilities.

"What the budget settlement provides for is sustained funding for the flood forecasting service for example, and also for the investment that is necessary in a variety of flood protection and flood alleviation schemes which we have sustained since we came to office in 2007 and which we intend to sustain for the duration of this budget settlement."

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