Page last updated at 14:58 GMT, Friday, 4 September 2009 15:58 UK

Rain causes roads and homes chaos


Homes around Elgin were among the worst affected

Heavy rain has flooded homes and brought disruption to roads in areas across the north and east of Scotland.

More than 600 homes in Moray were being evacuated in what the local authority described as a major incident.

Aberdeen had its wettest September day since records began in 1943, with a month's average rainfall dropping in the 24 hours until 0900 BST.

Police in Grampian and Tayside advised motorists across the region not to travel unless it was necessary.

The situation caused road closures across Grampian, Tayside, Fife, Perth and Kinross, while East Coast Mainline trains were disrupted.

Aberdeen flooding [Pic: Mark McHardy]
Aberdeen city centre was badly affected [Pic: Mark McHardy]

Emergency services in Moray had been monitoring water levels all night and took the decision to evacuate 40 homes in Fochabers at about 0200 BST after 20 suffered flooding. Houses were also flooded in Rothes.

Moray Council said families had been taken to a local hotel.

It also said part of a bridge had been swept away, with trees washed downstream.

Local resident Ian Gordon told BBC Radio Scotland: "The flood water is in my home and it is in maybe 15 or 20 homes in my immediate area. Some houses are quite bad, water was maybe 2ft up the doors of some of the houses.

"We're absolutely not happy. We were flooded here 12 years ago, the same bridge, same problem, and we were promised that it would be replaced with a steel bridge or a single arch bridge, concrete or whatever, and nothing has been done."

Anne Innes was at her mother's house in Elgin when flood warnings were received in the early hours of the morning.

She said: "It's been flooded twice before and my mother spent several months out of the house. The authorities have reacted better this time because we actually got a flood warning at 2am, then another one at 4am.

"The last time it happened she lost possessions because there were no flood warnings.

This is an anxious time for families and communities, both for those already directly affected by the floods and for those who may be in danger of being affected
Richard Lochhead
Environment secretary

"We'll just have to hope it doesn't get as bad as it was the last time."

In Elgin, moves were under way to get people out of their homes as water levels rose on the River Lossie.

A rest centre opened at Elgin High School for evacuated households.

Firefighters from Tayside and the Highlands were heading to Elgin to help out with the flooding.

Moray Council estimated that up to 560 homes in the town could be affected.

Chief executive Alastair Keddie said that everything possible was being done to protect residents.

Flooding in Letham, Angus [Pic: Tony Cook]
Letham in Angus was one of the areas hit by flooding [Pic by Tony Cook]

"Staff from Moray Council, Grampian Police and Grampian Fire and Rescue have been working through the night to ensure an ordered response to the flooding problems and safe evacuations," he said.

"The Met Office and Sepa predict precipitation and water levels to peak sometime in the afternoon, but this will still mean flooding will occur in high-risk areas.

"The council's flood alleviation team will continue to monitor the local situation throughout."

Environment secretary and Moray MSP Richard Lochhead said: "This is an anxious time for families and communities, both for those already directly affected by the floods and for those who may be in danger of being affected as the situation progresses.

"Council and emergency services personnel have been working flat out to protect families and communities and hundreds of people have been evacuated, mainly on a precautionary basis.

"I have spoken to both the chief executive of Moray Council and Grampian Police and it is clear that the emergency arrangements in hand are working."

The weather forced the cancellation of the launch of Dundee's two-week food and drink festival, which was due to have been opened by Mr Lochhead and celebrity chef Nick Nairn. However, organisers said the festival would go ahead at the weekend as planned.

Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham thanked the emergency services and said: "Floods such as the ones we have seen in the past 24 hours across Scotland are a stark reminder of nature's capacity to wreak total havoc."

In Grampian, police warned that numerous roads were impassable due to flooding and said the heavy rain was anticipated to continue for some time.

Some cars on roads in Aberdeen city centre and the Dyce area were submerged.

Insp Ian Wallace said: "This has had an impact on the entire area and our advice is to stay at home unless travel is urgent and unavoidable."

Flooding in Dyce/Pic: Mark Allan
The rain caused severe floods in areas such as Dyce [Pic: Mark Allan]

Police also urged people drawn to see the flooding to stay away, both of safety grounds and also so officers did not have to be involved in "crowd control" when they were needed elsewhere.

Just over 67mm of rain fell in the Aberdeen city area in the 24 hour period to 0900 BST on Friday. The monthly average is 68mm.

The rainfall was even greater in Lossiemouth, where 76.4mm of rain fell in the same 24-hour period. The town's monthly average is 61.8mm.

Northern Constabulary urged drivers to exercise extreme care when travelling on the A96.

Tayside Police said they were closely monitoring water levels at the Barry Burn in Carnoustie and the Brothock Burn in Arbroath.

Nearby residents were being kept updated on the situation as the Brothock burn reached high tide at 1500 BST.

The force said conditions on major roads in the Dundee and Angus areas had improved although several minor routes remained badly affected by floodwater.

Several motorists, including a mother and her three children, had to be rescued from vehicles earlier today after they became trapped in water.

Properties at the Den at Letham in Angus and Bridgefoot were also inundated with water up to 1ft deep.

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