UK

Flooded residents returning to ‘mind-blowing’ damage after Storm Babet

River Street in Brechin was hit by flooding (Andrew Milligan/PA)
River Street in Brechin was hit by flooding (Andrew Milligan/PA) River Street in Brechin was hit by flooding (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Residents in the most severely flooded part of Angus are returning to their homes to find “mind-blowing” levels of damage, as the clean-up begins in the wake of Storm Babet.

Angus and Aberdeenshire were badly hit by the storm and teams are clearing debris from roads, while those hit by flooding are making repairs.

With the sun finally shining, those who live in River Street in Brechin are trying to dry out as much of their homes as they can, as they survey the damage from the floodwater.

Hundreds fled the street and nearby areas when the river South Esk burst its banks and overtopped flood defences, which sent water pouring into the lower floors of many properties.

David Stewart, 68, was trying to salvage items from the flat he shares with his partner.

Autumn weather October 21st 2023
Autumn weather October 21st 2023 Residents are returning to survey the damage (Neil Pooran/PA)

He told the PA news agency: “It’s just absolutely mind-blowing.

“The devastation looks even worse than I thought.”

Brian Petrie, 66, returned to find the lower floor of his house covered in silt and mud, with the carpet squelching as he walked and the fridge upended.

He was in the house as the flooding hit, sheltering upstairs with his 92-year-old mother as water poured in through the letterbox.

She was rescued by Coastguard crews using a dinghy.

Mr Petrie said: “The Coastguards and paramedics got her down the stairs in a stretcher and took her in a dinghy up to the ambulance.”

She is now safe elsewhere in Angus.

George Wilson returned to find “awful” damage in his ground-floor flat in River Street.

The 66-year-old is documenting the extent of it for insurance purposes.

“I’m still trying to get my head around it,” he said.

Earlier, Angus councillor Gavin Nicol said contaminated sludge and silt is “everywhere” and the damage is “extensive”.

Many will not be able to return to their homes before Christmas, he said.

The red and yellow weather warnings covering Dundee and the north-east of Scotland have expired and conditions improved on Sunday.

A number of flood warnings remain in place around Scotland, but more of these are expected to be removed later in the day.

Autumn weather October 21st 2023
Autumn weather October 21st 2023 Brechin suffered major damage (Neil Pooran/PA)

On Saturday, a local company placed large sandbags on an area of the river wall in Brechin which had been swept away in an effort to shore up River Street and prevent further flooding.

The storm led to two deaths north of the border and searches continue for a man reported missing to police on Friday, who is said to have been trapped in a vehicle in floodwater in Marykirk, Aberdeenshire.

ScotRail said the majority of its services will be able to run as normal on Sunday, but a number of lines, including Aberdeen to Dundee and Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh, remain closed.

A 57-year-old woman died on Thursday after being swept into the Water of Lee, Glen Esk, and a 56-year-old man was killed the same day after a falling tree hit a van near Forfar in Angus.

Autumn weather October 21st 2023
Autumn weather October 21st 2023 A car on a bridge washed away by the storm near Dundee (Andrew Milligan/PA)

More than half of the staff manning a North Sea drilling platform were airlifted to other sites on Saturday after several of its anchors came loose during the storm.

Coastguard helicopters were called upon to move 45 non-essential workers from the Stena Spey to neighbouring platforms and to Sumburgh on the Shetland Islands due to the incident.

The rig is located around 146 miles east of Aberdeen.

Residents of nearby Bridge of Dun had to be airlifted via helicopter, while in other areas people stranded by floodwater were rescued by boats, including canoes.

On Saturday, the Scottish Government’s Resilience Room met to discuss the “exceptional” levels of rain that had fallen in parts of Scotland during the weekend.

The meeting, chaired by Justice Secretary Angela Constance, heard parts of Scotland are still dealing with the severe flooding caused by Storm Babet while some rivers remain at hazardous levels.

Autumn weather October 20th 2023
Autumn weather October 20th 2023 Flooding in Brechin (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Ms Constance said: “Storm Babet’s exceptional level of rain has severely affected parts of Scotland.

“Tragically, the storm has led to lives being lost and I send my sincere condolences to the families affected.

“The storm has caused significant damage and, while flooding is still occurring, it is not expected to be as serious as over the last 24 hours.

“The impact, however, will be felt in communities for some time to come.

“While many local authorities are still responding to the immediate impacts of the storm, thoughts are now turning to recovery.

“Over the coming days and weeks, we will stay in close contact with local authorities to support the people and businesses affected.”