As Storm Babet sweeps across Scotland, hundreds of residents in flood-risk areas of Angus are facing the daunting task of evacuating their homes for their own safety. Angus Council has issued a severe flood warning for the River South Esk area, specifically identifying 335 homes in Brechin and 87 in Tannadice and Finavon that are at significant risk. In response, the council has established three rest centers where those affected can go for shelter and support during this crisis.
Even with the impending danger, not all residents are willing to leave their homes. One such resident is 82-year-old John Stewart from Brechin, who has taken matters into his own hands to protect his property. Despite the council’s evacuation orders, Mr. Stewart has built a wall around his garden and installed a floodgate to safeguard his house from potential water damage. His devotion to staying stems from his wife’s ill health, leaving him willing to take the risk. However, it is crucial to note that defying evacuation orders can be extremely dangerous and put lives at risk.
First Minister Humza Yousaf has emphasized the importance of listening to official advice in the face of severe weather conditions. He implores all residents across Scotland to pay close attention to warnings and take necessary precautions to ensure their safety. In particular, those within the red weather warning area must refrain from traveling, as significant disruption and harm may arise from disregarding these instructions. It is crucial to prioritize personal and communal safety during storm events.
Storm Babet’s impact is not limited to Angus but extends to other parts of the UK. Severe weather warnings have been issued in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, with widespread disruption reported. Scotland’s transport network is already facing significant setbacks as ScotRail and Stagecoach services experience cancellations. Additionally, power cuts have affected around 10,000 homes in Scotland due to the storm. The RNLI advises individuals to stay away from coastal areas to avoid the risk of being washed out to sea, while the British Geological Survey warns of potential landslides in areas with the worst weather conditions.
In England, the Environment Agency has issued flood warnings and alerts. The most severe warning, an amber warning of rain, covers parts of northern England and northern Wales. This warning encompasses major cities such as Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Derby, Nottingham, Chester, and Bradford. The expected rainfall between Thursday evening and Friday morning could reach up to 220mm in some areas of eastern Scotland. This amount is close to the highest ever recorded 24-hour rainfall total of 238mm in Argyll and Bute in 1974.
The Met Office has outlined the potential dangers and consequences of Storm Babet: danger to life from fast-flowing or deep floodwater, extensive flooding to homes and businesses, collapsed or damaged structures, road closures with delays and cancellations of bus and train services, hazardous driving conditions due to spray and flooded roads, loss of power and essential services like gas, water, and mobile phone coverage, and communities being completely cut off for an extended period.
Angus Council has taken proactive steps to prepare for the storm’s impact. Schools and early years centers in the region were closed at lunchtime on Thursday and will not reopen on Friday. Road teams have been actively distributing sandbags to resilience groups around vulnerable areas and buildings. The council has a limited supply of sandbags available for residents in need, with a maximum of 20 per household. Additionally, repair work across the region has been postponed until the storm subsides, with a focus on internal works rather than external emergencies.
As the residents of Angus brace themselves for Storm Babet, it is crucial that everyone heeds the warnings and takes necessary precautions to ensure their safety. Evacuation orders must be followed, and individuals in high-risk areas should seek shelter in the designated rest centers. By prioritizing personal and communal safety, we can weather this storm and emerge stronger together.