Page last updated at 16:47 GMT, Thursday, 10 July 2008 17:47 UK

Landslide closes road 'for weeks'

The A7 is the main route from Langholm to the Borders and Cumbria

A main road in southern Scotland could be closed for up to eight weeks after a landslide caused by heavy rain.

Police confirmed the A7 at Auchenrivock south of Langholm would remain shut for some time as much of the country was hit by torrential downpours.

A further landslip also partially closed a stretch of the same road north of the Dumfries and Galloway town.

Severe weather warnings were issued for parts of Scotland, with the south appearing to be the worst hit.

Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary has put in lengthy diversions due to the problems on the A7 - the main route from Langholm to the Borders and Cumbria.

'Absolute disaster'

Langholm councillor Denis Male said it caused major problems for the town in the build-up to its common riding celebrations later this month.

"As I understand it about a mile north of Auchenrivock a large amount of earth from the new bypass has slipped down onto the old A7, totally blocking it," he said.

"This means absolute disaster for the business community of Langholm."

Police have also urged motorists to be extra careful on all roads and to be wary of standing water which is also affecting the route.

People usually expect July to be hot and sunny but this could be exceptional weather conditions for this time of year
Gail McGrane
BBC weather forecaster

BBC weather forecaster Gail McGrane warned that up to 50mm of rain could fall, particularly in parts of the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway.

The Met Office said it expected above or near average rainfall for the rest of the summer and said it would be cloudier and cooler than previous summers.

This is despite this year seeing the warmest May ever recorded in Scotland and 2008 being on target to be one of the 10 warmest years.

In Edinburgh, 23mm of rain fell between 2100 BST on Wednesday and 0900 BST on Thursday - more than a third of the city's average rainfall for July.

In Eskdalemuir, Dumfries and Galloway, which has a July average of 98mm, a total of 23mm also fell overnight, while 24mm fell in Bishopton, Renfrewshire, which has a July average of 76mm.

Gail McGrane said southern, central and eastern Scotland would continue to be dull and wet throughout Thursday with some heavy and persistent rain.

She said the worst of the rain would be in the southern uplands, particularly the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway, where there were likely to be torrential downpours.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) is operating flood watches for Dumfries and Galloway rivers, Highland Angus rivers and Lowland Angus rivers, the Scottish Borders and West Central Scotland.

Slight improvement

The north east has also been affected by heavy rainfall, but the north west Highlands appears to have escaped the heavy rain. There, the forecast is drier and brighter with a hint of sunshine, particularly in Gairloch, Ullapool and Lochalsh, with temperatures up to 18C.

Gail said: "The rest of the country will be a dismal 15-16C with rain. People usually expect July to be hot and sunny but this could be exceptional weather conditions for this time of year."

There will be a slight improvement in conditions on Friday, some sunny spells forecast for Saturday and it is expected to be largely dry on Sunday with temperatures reaching 20-21C.

Latest figures from the Met Office showed that June was wetter than average and only slightly warmer.

So far this year, January and February have also been slightly warmer than the long-term average.

Dr Richard Dixon, director of WWF Scotland, said: "June has been rather average, despite following on from a record-breaking warmest-ever May.

"With two out of six months two degrees warmer than average, 2008 is heading to be one of the 10 warmest years ever recorded for Scotland."

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