Storm Babet unleashes carnage: Scottish rivers at bursting point with up to five inches of rain lashing towns in 24 hours killing woman, 57, swept into the water – but officials say worst is to come with Britain facing second round of extreme weather TODAY
- The Met Office has issued a slew of weather warnings covering most of Britain
Storm Babet is set to continue battering Britain today after claiming the life a woman in Scotland and causing river levels in the country to rise by as much five metres.
The weather system, which has brought torrential rain and 80mph gales after sweeping in from the Atlantic, tragically took the life of a 57-year-old woman after she was swept away by surging waters.
Hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes in the east of the country amid warnings that water cascading off the peaks could see rivers burst through flood defences.
The Met Office has issued a slew of weather warnings, including alerts about potentially life threatening amounts of rain and high winds that could cause power outages.
There are concerns that the ‘worst is yet to come’, as the slow moving storm works its way north, bringing near record amounts of precipitation with it in Scotland and parts of northern England.
BRECHIN: Emergency services go door-to-door as they evacuate people before flooding hits the town
STONEHAVEN: Waves crash over the sea wall in the harbour on Thursday as Storm Babet batters the country
PERTHSHIRE: Cars avoid debris from a tree which was snapped in half by high winds in the storm
This weather chart suggests that more than four inches of rain is set to fall between Friday and midnight on Sunday in some areas
Dramatic photos and video show raging torrents in highland areas of Scotland, giving people in low-lying areas a glimpse of what could be coming their way.
Angus Council warned on Thursday night that there was a ‘risk to life’ and urged people to leave if told to evacuate amid potential devastation in Brechin.
It said: ‘The latest modelling from @SEPA is that river levels could reach an unprecedented 5m about normal levels. The Brechin flood defences are designed to deal with river levels of 3.8m.
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‘This means that there is a serious risk to life from excessive flooding. Building on work undertaken already we are, currently revisiting all properties identified as at risk to evacuate remaining residents who were reluctant to leave earlier.
‘We are expecting peak levels at around 01:00 and again 08:00 but if the modelling is correct, the river will overtop long before that peak so the time to leave is NOW.’
Fire crews and the coastguard began evacuating residents from the town of Brechin on Thursday night – knocking on residents’ doors advising them to leave the area.
Angus Council, responsible for a large area in the east of Scotland north of Dundee, said residents in 335 homes in Brechin and a further 87 homes in Tannadice and Finavon would be asked to evacuate due to risk of severe flooding.
The region, which is covered by a red weather warning, was where a 57-year-old woman tragically died yesterday.
Police were called to the Water of Lee at Glen Esk, in Angus at 1.45pm and a body was found at 4pm. A force spokesperson said there were ‘no suspicious circumstances’ and added that a report would be submitted to the procurator fiscal.
Deputy First Minister Shona Robison has said the ‘worst impacts are yet to come’ with 10,000 homes across Britain being without power in addition to the evacuations in Scotland.
Britain is expected to experience its wettest day ever. A map issued by the Met Office reveals the bleak picture of how the UK will be drenched as a result of heavy rain. The storm could bring between 200 and 220mm of rain in some areas of eastern Scotland, where some resident have been told to leave their homes.
Scottish coastguard seen going door to door in Brechin as town is evacuated due to extreme weather conditions
HAMPSHIRE: People braving the weather at Southsea as Storm Babet arrives
BRECHIN: Members of the coastguard attempt to evacuate people from their homes
STONEHAVEN, SCOTLAND: The waves crash against the harbour amid a rare red weather alert in Scotland
This is close to the country’s highest rainfall on record which peaked at 238mm in Sloy Main Adit in Argyll and Bute on January 17, 1974.
One river in Perth and Kinross was found to have tripled in height to more than four feet in the space of just 12 hours.
Four flood warnings have been issued by the Environment Agency’s Floodline service in Sandsend, North Yorkshire; Bridlington, East Yorkshire; the Tyne estuary and in areas surrounding the River Maun in Nottinghamshire.
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The agency also has 79 flood alerts in effect across the rest of England.
Severe flood warnings were expanded for the River Esk in Scotland, including into Aberdeenshire.
The Met Office said some communities could be cut off for several days by severe flooding, while the British Geological Survey has warned the storm could also cause landslides in Scotland.
It has also issued more than a dozen warnings for heavy rain and high winds covering most of Britain, with the most severe warnings for rain coming in Scotland and northern England.
Police were forced to close off a street in Brechin, Angus, after exceptional rainfall threatened to breach the town’s flood defences.
River Street, next to the South River Esk, was fully blocked by a police patrol vehicle as well as signposts advising there is no entry onto the street, as members of the coastguard made door-to-door enquiries to check on residents’ safety.
Heavy showers also battered parts of England and Wales on Thursday night, causing travel disruption. Amber warnings are in place for northern England, the Midlands and Wales.
The rain arrived in southeast England overnight, spreading to most areas by dawn. The unsettled weather is set to remain today and through to the weekend, with strong winds reaching 80mph.
Ms Robinson said: ‘Protecting the public is our immediate priority and we are co-ordinating a national effort to ensure that people are safe.
‘The red warning has been expanded to cover further parts of Scotland and we expect weather conditions to deteriorate seriously overnight. Our message is clear – if you live in the areas covered by the red warning, please stay at home and do not travel, unless advised to relocate to a rest centre.
‘With weather warnings in place for much of the country, I would urge everyone to be vigilant and to exercise extreme caution. No matter where you live, please make sure you stay up to date with conditions affecting your area.
‘If you need to travel in a yellow warning area then make sure you can travel safely and that roads and services are not impacted.
‘We are working with partners across the country, including emergency services, the voluntary sector and energy companies, to make sure that we mitigate disruption as much as possible.
‘However, we are clear that there will be considerable disruption and we expect to launch a major clean-up operation as we move into the weekend.’
Police and the coastguard went door to door checking on residents in Brechin, Scotland late on Thursday evening
Hundreds of people were evacuated in Brechin after torrential downpours posed a ‘danger to life’ with the Met Office issuing a severe red weather warning
It came as the Met Office issued an extremely rare ‘danger to life’ red warning from 6pm on Thursday through to midday on Friday with over a month’s worth of rainfall expected in the worst-affected regions.
Forecasters had initially warned that the east of Scotland, including Brechin, Forfar and Kirriemuir, could be hit hardest with ‘exceptionally heavy and persistent rain’. It has since been spread wider to include parts of Dundee and western Tayside.
Angus Council said that anyone affected by the storm should evacuate, adding that they would go door to door and spread the message. The council told locals that it only has a limited supply of sandbags to help protect buildings.
It comes despite a £16.3million flood prevention scheme in Brechin being completed seven years ago. The project, hailed as a protection measure ‘for generations to come’, featured flood walls, embankments and upgrades to the drainage system.
Emergency rest centres are also being set up and residents have been asked to bring their own sleeping bags, supplies and medication.
Angus Council had already confirmed that schools and early years centres would close at lunchtime on Thursday – and will remain shut on Friday.
SCOTLAND: A car drives past a fallen tree in Brechin as Storm Babet hits the town
The graphic shows where the worst impacted areas of Scotland will be as Storm Babet bears down on the UK
The Met Office has updated its red weather warning for rain, which will now cover a wider area of Scotland, bringing ‘exceptionally heavy and persistent rain’
The Met Office has also issued a new amber warning for parts of northern England, the Midlands and Wales as Storm Babet batters the UK
SOUTH SHIELDS, TYNE AND WEAR: Enormous waves crash onto South Shields pier in the North East this morning at sunrise
STONEHAVEN, SCOTLAND: People stand on the harbour as waves crash around them
MIDLETON, CORK: A person wades through the waters of a the knee-deep flooded street
CAMBRIDGE: Tourists shelter under umbrellas to try and avoid getting a soaking as they go for a punt in a downpour on the River Cam
BRECHIN: The Scottish town is being evacuated as Storm Babet rips through Britain. Here, a tree has fallen down on a road in the town
ESSEX: A vehicle is left completely submerged in a ford as heavy rain caused roads to flood
The last red warning anywhere in the UK for rain was in February 2022 for Storm Eunice.
The Met Office has also issued a new amber warning for parts of northern England, the Midlands and Wales as Storm Babet sparks chaos in the UK. Workmen have been pictured putting flood defences up as Britain prepares for a deluge of rain.
The warning is in place from noon on Friday to 6am on Saturday due to persistent heavy rain. Homes and businesses are likely to be flooded and some communities could be cut off by impacted roads.
Between 40 and 60mm of rain is likely, with the potential for between 80 and 120mm on higher ground, the Met Office said.
It comes as Storm Babet has caused mayhem on Thursday with trains cancelled, roads blocked and Britons warned to stay at home as gale force winds and torrential rain hit the UK.
The second named storm of the season hammered Ireland yesterday as dozens of cars were submerged and washed away, while businesses, supermarkets and hospitals fell victim to the destructive floods.
But Storm Babet, named after a woman from the Netherlands who said she had been born during a gale, is now starting to wreak havoc in Britain. Some schools will close as parts of Scotland prepare for one third of their annual rainfall in just one day today.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has said they are expecting ‘extensive river and surface water flooding’ as Storm Babet hits.
Angus Council said that anyone affected by the storm in Brechin, Angus, should evacuate
A resident puts sand bags outside his door as he leaves his house on River Street in Brechin, Scotland, with people living in the town being told to evacuate
A rainbow appears over the Bibby Stockholm in Portland Port with ominous grey skies above
PERTH: Flood barriers are installed on Queen’s Bridge as heavy rain and wind batters the city
DORSET: Environment Agency staff repair concrete wave barriers installed along parts of the seafront in Swanage
EDZELL: A dog walker and her dog at a flood defence barrier erected on Church street in the Scottish village
BRECHIN: Some 360 homes in the Scottish town will be evacuated. Here, Local resident Christopher McGuire places sand bags at houses as Storm Babet closes in
LONDON: Met Office issues rare ‘danger to life’ warning as Britain braces for Storm Babet today
COUNTY CORK: Britain is bracing itself for Storm Babet after devastating floods sparked chaos in Midleton, Cork, including at this Supervalu supermarket
SEAHAM, COUNTY DURHAM: Storm Babet batters the north east coast of England this morning as waves as big as 20ft are pictured battering Seaham light house
GLOUCESTER: Motorists have been warned to drive safely following a bad crash on the M5
DORSET: Shocked locals dodge the sea spray as big waves were seen crashing into the coast at Mudeford Quay
LONDON: Commuters were seen struggling with their umbrellas as the storm threatens to cause chaos in England
COUNTY CORK: This is the moment that a car is washed away by biblical floods in Ireland – as Britain braces for over a month’s worth of rain and 70mph gale force winds today
‘Take action now to protect yourself and your property. Hazards can be hidden, so please don’t walk or drive into flood water. Remember that not only is flood water likely to be dirty, 30 cm of fast flowing water can move an average family sized car, and just 15 cm of fast flowing water could be enough to knock you off your feet.’
How Babet was named after a Dutch woman born during a gale
Storm Babet was named after a woman from the Netherlands who said she had been born during a gale.
The Met Office compiles its annual list of storm names in conjunction with the Dutch and Irish weather services.
The Dutch weather service organised an open day last year, inviting visitors to submit suggestions for names – and Babet was among those involved, reported the Daily Telegraph.
Further down the list is Storm Elin, which was named after a visitor who said they had a ‘tempestuous granddaughter’ with the same name.
Scottish Water warned of the risk of sewer flooding and said staff are on standby. The organisation said sewer flooding reports are expected to increase as drainage systems become overwhelmed by the extreme rainfall.
John Griffen, Scottish Water’s water operations general manager said: ‘We have activated contingency plans including increasing the numbers of staff and contractors on standby to support customers experiencing sewer flooding, and protect our critical infrastructure across water and waste water services.
‘Plans are in place for known sewer flooding hotspots with tankers on-site, and we encourage any customer experiencing sewer flooding to report it as soon as possible…’
Mass train cancellations have been imposed by ScotRail, expected to last from today until Saturday with trains suspended in North and North East Scotland while the South and West will also be hit by delays today.
Services have been suspended between Aberdeen and Elgin; Edinburgh and Aberdeen via Fife; and Perth and Aberdeen via Dundee.
Angus Council which covers parts of Aberdeenshire, Dundee City and Perth and Kinross, said the severe weather warnings were ‘unprecedented’, and schools would be closing at lunchtime on Thursday, and all day Friday.
Stagecoach has also warned bus passengers of disruption in eastern Scotland today. It said the X7 bus route from Aberdeen to Perth will be impacted by the closure of Lower Northwater Bridge in Aberdeenshire. Highland Council has announced that all its bus services will be suspended until further notice too.
The Royal Family’s Balmoral castle and estate has been closed to the public today and tomorrow due to the weather in Aberdeenshire. All facilities at Cairngorm Mountain in Aviemore have also been closed today due to the storm.
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