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Wednesday, 23 October, 2002, 16:53 GMT 17:53 UK
Deluge tests emergency crews
River Don
The Don is at its highest level for 30 years
Emergency services in the north-east of Scotland say they have been severely stretched after the area was lashed by some of the worst weather for decades.

Homes were deluged as rivers across Aberdeenshire burst their banks and a number of flood watches are still in place.

Grampian Fire Brigade has responded to more than 100 calls for help.

Torrential rain hit the south and central parts of Scotland on Tuesday, disrupting road and rail services, before moving north.

Traffic near Inverness
Traffic faces disruption in the north
In parts of northern and eastern Scotland, more than 80mm of rain has fallen.

On Wednesday, the worst affected areas appeared to be around Peterhead and the valley of the River Don, which reached its highest level for 30 years.

One farm near Fraserburgh reported that 150 sheep had drowned overnight.

The main Aberdeen to Inverness railway line was closed between Nairn and Huntly due to landslips and flooding.

Railtrack said the track was reopened later in the day, as was the line south from Aberdeen, which was closed by a landslip near Stonehaven.

Many roads were closed, including the A90 near Peterhead, and drivers have been urged to avoid travelling unless absolutely necessary.

Travel warning

Ferry operator Northlink cancelled its sailings between Aberdeen and the Northern Isles for second night.

The overnight service from Shetland and Orkney to the Scottish mainland was also scrapped.

In the Highlands, people served by the Assynt treatment works have been advised to boil their water for drinking, washing and cooking.

River Teviot near Jedburgh
The Borders bore the brunt on Tuesday
Concern has been expressed that supplies around Dingwall and much of the Black Isle could be contaminated due to the continuing rain.

Elsewhere in Scotland, the situation has eased but many roads remain closed.

In East Lothian, fire crews worked through the night to make generators and electrical equipment safe at Belhaven Hospital in Dunbar.

Lothian and Borders Police said the Edinburgh city bypass at the Calder junction re-opened in time for the rush hour on Wednesday.

In Fife, the A92, south of the Tay Road between Parbroath Crossroads and Melville Roundabout, was among routes still shut.

Home evacuated

Further south in the Borders, the scene of the worst conditions on Tuesday, water levels in the main rivers were beginning to fall.

However, police said many roads remained closed around Duns, Selkirk and Kelso.

In Kelso - one of the worst-hit areas - 21 elderly people were temporarily evacuated from a residential home as levels on the nearby Tweed reached danger point.

Some rail and ferry services continue to be affected across Scotland and passengers have been advised to check with operators before travelling.

Railtrack said it did not know when the east coast main line would reopen following Tuesday's landslip at Cockburnspath, which blocked the route between Dunbar and Berwick.

The latest information from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency is available on Floodline: 0845 988 1188.

BBC Scotland's Eric Crockart reports
"The worst does seem to be over"
See also:

23 Oct 02 | Scotland
22 Oct 02 | Scotland
22 Oct 02 | Scotland
08 Sep 02 | Scotland
22 Oct 02 | UK
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