Red Warning as Storm Desmond batters parts of Scotland
A severe weather warning for the south of Scotland has been upgraded to red as heavy rains from Storm Desmond have brought flooding and travel problems.
Homes have been evacuated in Hawick after the River Teviot burst its banks and the Nith has flooded in Dumfries.
Roads have been affected across the country, with some major routes closed at times.
The Met Office said downpours were set to continue and dozens of flood alerts and flood warnings have been issued.
The Red Warning for rain covers parts of the Borders overnight into the early hours of Sunday. Meanwhile two Severe Flood Warnings have been put in place for Hawick and Newcastleton.
Police Scotland led a phased evacuation of properties in the Mansfield area of Hawick and a rest centre has been opened for locals.
Jim Fraser, emergency planning officer for Scottish Borders Council, said: "The situation in Hawick developed overnight, but given the potential impact of the rising river levels it was imperative that residents were evacuated as early as possible, and they are now being looked after within the rest centre.
"The Met Office is advising that the Borders will be on the end of very heavy and persistent rainfall throughout today and there is the potential for significant disruption across the region and river levels will continue to rise.
"This will present very challenging conditions and members of the public are strongly advised to prepare for this and take the necessary action where they can.
Traffic Scotland urged drivers to take care and said police were urging against road travel in the Borders.
A bus was reported to have been blown off the road south of Dunshalt in Fife and on the A81 passengers had to be rescued from a bus by the Trossachs Search and Rescue Team.
Amber weather warnings also cover Strathclyde, Central, Tayside, Fife, South West Scotland, Lothian and and remaining parts of the Borders.
An amber warning for wind has also been put in place across the south - with forecasts of gales gusting up to 70mph.
Grampian and the Highlands had an earlier amber warning for rain reduced to yellow.
Marc Becker, from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, said: "We have already seen significant transport disruption, including arterial road and rail links and property flooding across wide areas of central and southern Scotland today. We are particularly concerned that the flooding situation will deteriorate further later today in the south west of Scotland and Tayside.
"In areas of the western Scottish Borders, particularly around Hawick, we may see significant flooding impacts affecting a large number of properties, roads and infrastructure during Saturday evening. Similar impacts may also occur within the Tay catchment in Perthshire."
The traffic disruption comes on the first full weekend of the Forth Road Bridge closure, after engineers found cracked steelwork on the crossing.
Dumfries and Galloway Council said it was preparing for flooding similar to that which hit the region in 2009.
Police Scotland said the Whitesands in Dumfries had been closed after the River Nith burst its banks and that it was likely to remain closed for the rest of Saturday.
As well as problems in Dumfries, sandbags were being deployed in Langholm and Annan.
A supply of sandbags has been put in place in Alyth, in Perth and Kinross, which was badly flooded in the summer, and conditions on the Alyth Burn will be checked throughout the weekend.
Stormy conditions have affected rail travel, with trains between Perth and Inverness cancelled until the early afternoon after flooding on the track at Kingussie.
Services between Glasgow Central and Carlisle via Dumfries also been cancelled.
Ferry operators have issued alerts over possible delays and cancellations and urged passengers to check ahead.
Several Scottish Premiership matches and rugby games were also been postponed after early pitch inspections.
The Scottish government and Transport Scotland say they were monitoring the weather situation closely.
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