Scottish Daily Mail
Homes on f lood alert
Downpours and storms leave rivers under threat
SCOTLAND was on flood alert last night after days of high winds and torrential downpours left swollen rivers across the country on the brink of bursting their banks.
Having endured a battering from Storm Abigail and the remnants of Hurricane Kate, the rain-lashed country faced warnings of a serious risk to homes and roads from the floodwaters.
Forecasters said Britain suffered its heaviest weekend rainfall since 2009’s Cumbria floods, when a record 12in fell and floods up to 8ft deep saw 1,300 homes under water, £276million of damage, a policeman killed and weeks of transport chaos after bridges collapsed.
The Met Office said it expected hills away from weather stations to have seen up to 4in of rain in South-West Scotland.
The first Arctic blast of the winter is set to sweep in by the end of the week, bringing heavy snow showers and sub-zero temperatures to large swathes of the North.
Before then, the Met Office said Scotland was ‘not out of the woods’ and warned of more washouts.
Yesterday, travel was disrupted as a deep area of low pressure blew in from the Atlantic, bringing widespread problems with severe gale force winds to many parts and gusts of 70 to 80mph in the Outer Hebrides, the Highlands and Orkney and Shetland.
There are fears the cold, blustery weather could cause rush-hour chaos in parts of the Central Belt, already saturated after heavy weekend rain. Yesterday, it brought motorways to a standstill with flooding and surface water. The M8 into Glasgow was subject to a 40mph speed limit while the A737 at Beith, Ayrshire, was closed after a blocked drain caused flooding.
The A77 at Girvan, Ayrshire, was only just passable in both directions due to the extreme conditions and The Forth Bridge was reduced to 40mph due to heavy fog yesterday morning.
An early casualty of the weather was yesterday’s switch-on of Glasgow’s Christmas lights in George Square, which was cancelled.
On Friday the Scottish Environment Protection Agency issued seven flood warnings and nine flood alerts, with concerns high over rising water in the rivers Lyon and Earn. Flood warnings were in place in Pollok Country Park, in the heart of Glasgow’s south side, as well as parts of Tayside and Dumfries and Galloway.
Sandbags were used to protect properties in Lamlash on Arran. Streets on Colonsay and Islay were affected too.
Forecasters said the unseasonably mild weather will be abruptly ended this week by a cold snap. Met Office forecaster Peter Sloss said: ‘[Arctic air] will bring snow showers in the North down to the low levels. It will be a lot colder than it has been so far.’