Scotland is facing a danger to life situation as torrential rain continues to batter the country, causing widespread flooding, landslides, and travel disruption. The Met Office has issued five flood alerts and 53 flood warnings for various regions, as well as yellow and amber weather warnings for rain and ice.
Ten people rescued by helicopter after landslides
One of the most dramatic incidents occurred on Saturday morning, when ten people were airlifted to safety by a coastguard helicopter after their vehicles became trapped by landslides on the A83 and A815 in Argyll and Bute. Police Scotland said there were no reported injuries, but both roads remained closed.
The landslides were triggered by the heavy rainfall, which exceeded 100mm in some areas. The Met Office said that some places could see as much as 150-180mm of rain over the weekend, which is equivalent to a month’s worth of rain in 36 hours.
Rail and road services severely affected by flooding
The extreme weather also caused major disruption to rail and road services across Scotland. Several train lines were suspended or cancelled due to flooding and spray on the tracks, including the West Highland line, the Highland main line, and the Glasgow to Edinburgh via Falkirk line. Avanti West Coast and Transpenine Express advised customers not to travel between Scotland and Preston, as there were no services running north of the latter.
Many roads were also flooded or blocked by debris, making driving conditions hazardous. The M9, the M80, and the M876 were among the motorways affected by the flooding. Drivers were urged to take extra care and avoid unnecessary journeys.
Residents urged to prepare for possible evacuation
The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) warned that the flooding could pose a risk to life and property, and urged residents to prepare for possible evacuation. Sepa said that the flooding could affect low-lying areas, especially near rivers and coasts, and that some communities could be cut off by the floodwater.
Sepa also advised people to stay away from fast-flowing or deep water, and to follow the advice of the emergency services. People can check the latest flood updates and alerts on Sepa’s website or by calling the Floodline on 0345 988 1188.
Weather warnings to remain in place until Sunday
The Met Office said that the weather warnings would remain in place until Sunday morning, and that the situation could worsen as more rain falls on saturated ground. The Met Office also warned of the risk of ice on untreated surfaces, as temperatures drop overnight.
The Met Office said that the heavy rain was caused by a deep area of low pressure that moved across the UK from the Atlantic. The rain was enhanced by the warm and moist air that was drawn in from the south. The Met Office said that the weather system would gradually clear away to the east on Sunday, but that some showers and strong winds would persist.