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Hell and high water with relentless rain in north-east

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Relentless rain caused chaos across the north-east yesterday as roads, towns and villages across the region were hit by more flooding.

People in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire endured another day of incessant downpours.

Several major routes were closed as the rivers Don, Dee, Ury and Deveron all burst their banks.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) issued flood alerts for Inverurie, Kintore, Kemnay, Stonehaven, Aboyne, Marykirk, Aberdeen, Ballater, Turriff and Milltown and The Meadows at Huntly.

A bus trapped by the floods on Stoneywood Road in Dyce. Pictures by Kenny Elrick
A bus trapped by the floods on Stoneywood Road in Dyce. Pictures by Kenny Elrick
Fire crews rescue people from a bus left stranded in the floods earlier today on Stoneywood Road in Dyce. Picture by Kenny Elrick
Fire crews rescue people from a bus left stranded in the floods earlier today on Stoneywood Road in Dyce. Picture by Kenny Elrick

Meanwhile, a Met Office amber warning – in force all day yesterday – will stay remain in place until at least 8am today, with a “heavy and prolonged” downpour forecast.

About an inch of rain is expected to fall across Grampian – turning to snow on higher ground.

Yesterday, the River Don reached its highest level on record and among the worst hit communities were those on its banks, at Port Elphinstone, near Inverurie, and Kintore.

Further up Donside, in Alford, the streets were swamped with water, and the River Deveron also burst its banks in Huntly, causing the Meadows Care Home to be evacuated.

In Aboyne, there was a risk of flooding to low-lying properties with the Dee expected to peak before midnight last night.

Rest centres were set up across the region, including at Mackie and Inverurie academies and Kintore Community Hall.

Elsewhere, the normally scenic Bridge of Feugh at the south of Banchory was closed due to “safety concerns” and in Stonehaven the Carron Water’s flood gates were shut amid fears it would burst its banks.

In Aberdeen, residents of Grandholm Village, on the banks of the Don, were put on standby to evacuate, with a rest centre set up for locals in Bridge of Don Academy. Alternative accommodation was found for those living in Woodside, Persley and Grandholm care homes at Rosehill Day Centre.

Meanwhile, a driver and his passenger had to be rescued last night after a bus became stranded at Stoneywood Road in Dyce when he tried to drive through a flooded area under a railway bridge.

Fire crews, using a small boat, rescued the pair from the rising water.

Also in Dyce, 24 coastguards helped residents battle against the floods.

Police warned motorists to exercise caution as rivers and burns overflowed, while pockets of water collecting in fields overflowed on to carriageways.

The atmosphere in Ballater – which endured the worst of the flooding during Storm Frank last week with hundreds evacuated – was one of both tension and resilience.

Firefighters were called to the village’s Bridge Square to pump water away from propertiesinto the River Dee yesterday afternoon, and did the same at the Bridge of Gairn.

Locals were still clearing out their homes in the Ballater rain as they waited to see if the roaring River Dee, slowly rising, would once again overflow into their homes.

Distiller Ian Halliday’s house was engulfed by water as his partner, Sandra Cooper, watched on helplessly in the upper floor with her grandson, Max. They had to be helped from their home by mountain rescuers in a dinghy as the couple became grandparents once again to baby Ellie.Ballater-clear-up-3

Heavy bags left near the golf course. Picture by Jim Irvine
Heavy bags left near the golf course. Picture by Jim Irvine

Flooding in Ballater. The caravan park. Picture by Jim Irvine 7-1-16 Ballater Hosue 3

Mr Halliday, 51, said the further flood warnings could not make things any worse for them.

He added: “It is an absolute disaster. Another flood warning, it is not going to make these houses any worse anyway because the total ground floor in every house here is destroyed, we’ve lost everything.

“Insurers tell us we could be out of our house for eight months to a year.

“We’ve lost all concept of time, people are phoning in to arrange coming to the house and I keep saying ‘what day is it?’

“It is still the 30th as far as I am concerned, there hasn’t been any new year.”

It emerged yesterday that both the Cambus O’ May and newly-rebuilt Polhollick footbridges near the town would have to be replaced by Aberdeenshire Council.

Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside councillor, Geva Blackett, said the crossings “will both need to be replaced rather than repaired”.

She added: “It is just chaos. The one thing that has come out of this is how brilliant people are, there is a community spirit.”

She said a “temporary solution” will soon be in place at the A93 Ballater to Braemar road near Micras, part of which collapsed. The Invercauld Bridge on the A93 should also be repaired in two weeks’ time.

Richard Watts, chairman of the Ballater Business Association, said: “We will come through, everyone is determined to get back.”

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