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EDITIONS
Sunday, 8 September, 2002, 17:28 GMT 18:28 UK
Flash floods cause city chaos
Landslide
Roads around the city were blocked by debris
Emergency services are mounting a clear-up operation after flash floods caused chaos in Inverness.

Police were advising people not to travel to the Highland city for much of the day after several areas were left under water.

A number of roads have been closed or left badly affected by the rain and train services have been suspended south and east of the city.

Roads closed
A82 at Abriachan
B9039 Newton to Ardersier road
Northbound slip road off A9 at Raigmore
Coastguard, lifeboat and fire service staff were also involved in rescue operations on Sunday.

People were decamped from 15 houses in the Drakies, Hilton and Culloden areas of the city, including two elderly people who were taken for medical checks.

And 200 guests at the Thistle Hotel woke to find they had become marooned in water up to five feet deep.

Dinghies and rubber boats were used to take many to safety, although others elected to stay put.

Those evacuated included newlyweds Jackie and Andrew Torrie, from Alness, Easter Ross.

Cases salvaged

Jackie Stewart, 26, said: "The first I knew about the flooding was a member of staff banging on the door about 7am to tell us.

"I looked out and saw cars floating about in the car park - including ours - and thought my honeymoon was ruined.

"All our going away clothes were in cases in the car and we had were planning driving to Glasgow to catch out flight to Tenerife."

Houses
Homes and gardens were flooded
Andrew, 27, said firemen had waded out to the car and salvaged the cases, which had survived the worst of the damage.

"The Tenerife sun will soon dry us out, but at one point I thought I would be heading for honeymoon in my dress kilt outfit," he added.

Highland Council was arranging the distribution of sandbags to affected properties.

An incident room has been set up to bring together the emergency services and officials from the council's emergency planning team.

A spokesman for Northern Constabulary said the drains had been unable to cope with the flash flooding overnight.

Remain closed

"It is localised in the Inverness area. Ten miles down the road there's nothing. It's just a freak incident," he said.

The roads shut on Sunday included the A82 at Abriachan, which has been affected by a landslide; the slip road off the northbound A9 at Raigmore interchange, which is expected to remain closed for about a week; and the B9039 Newton to Ardersier road.

Inverness Airport is unaffected, although access must be made via Moss Road due to problems at Castle Stewart.

Vehicles on flooded road
Motorists were advised not to travel
ScotRail said it was likely to be at least 48 hours before train services returned to normal.

Part of the railway line was washed away at Milton of Culloden, blocking services between Inverness and Aviemore.

The Caledonian Canal has also been blocked at Dochgarroch due to a landslide.

Police urged worried travellers not to call police headquarters in the city but to listen to BBC radio reports.

Highland Council has also set up a 24-hour helpline, which can be contacted on 0800 838009.

Homes affected

Rail services in the Scottish central belt have also been affected by heavy rain.

Localised flooding has also been reported in the Shettleston area of Glasgow, where water was said to be up to three feet high.

Many homes the east end of the city were badly affected by floods in July.

Strathclyde Fire Brigade attended about a dozen flooding incidents in Airdrie on Sunday, while crews were also called out to deal with flooding in Galston and Dalry in Ayrshire.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Scotland's Craig Anderson reports
"Some roads could remain closed for days"
Daniel Boettcher reports
"The city's drains have not been able to cope"
See also:

31 Jul 02 | Scotland
30 Jul 02 | England
28 Jan 02 | Scotland
31 Jul 02 | Scotland
Internet links:


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