Torrential downpours cause significant flooding in northeastern Scotland

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A cleanup effort is underway after torrential downpours on Friday, September 4 caused significant flooding in the north-east of Scotland. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) said that the weather forecast in the coming days was improving, with no large amounts of rainfall predicted.

Over 500 homes had to be evacuated in Moray after the River Spey and River Lossie started to overflow their banks. 400 homes were also evacuated in the Elgin area and 50 more in Fochabers. Other areas affected included Aberdeen, Dyce, Lossiemouth and Rothes, where 25 homes had to be evacuated. Over 600 homes were evacuated in Morayshire.

The Grampian Police and Tayside Police advised residents not to drive unless absolutely necessary. The Northern Constabulary advised residents to travel with caution.

In some places, a month's worth of rain had fallen in just 24 hours. About 67 millimetres of rain had fallen in Aberdeen - roughly the equivalent of an average month of rainfall. In Lossiemouth, the rainfall was 76.4 millimetres - 15mm more than the average amount every month.

As cleanup efforts progressed, Chief executive of Moray Council Alistair Keddie said, "Everything possible was done to protect residents." However, some residents of the local areas are not so certain.

Mary Campbell, 62 from Fochabers said to the Times Online that she was "calling [for help] from 8pm but no-one showed up until about midnight. All the time the river kept going up and up. They came with sandbags, but by then it was too late. The water was already in my house."

The MSP for Moray Angus Robertson MP stated, "Water levels are higher than I have ever seen them before and communities have rallied to support people whose homes and businesses have been flooded. The objective must now be for everyone to help the victims of the worst flooding to hit Moray for many years to assist them rebuild their lives and get back to normality as quickly as possible. The hard lessons learnt from this latest devastation include the need for local agencies to redouble their efforts to get flood prevention measures into place and to recognise that climate change will only lead to more flooding in the future."