Flood barriers and sandbags are being put in place around the north-east as downpours and flooding branded a “danger to life” are expected to sweep large parts of Scotland today.
An amber rain weather warning has been issued for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, with a yellow alert stretching through parts of the Highlands and Orkney, ahead of Storm Alex’s arrival.
The weather system has been was named by French forecasters and is expected to cause “heavy and persistent rain throughout today and into mid-Sunday across eastern Scotland”.
The blue and white striped area on our map shows where the heaviest rain will be over the weekend, with parts of the North East likely to experience flooding and transport disruption. Prepare for the wet weather by signing up for flooding alerts here 👉 https://t.co/bNAzHOFYH9 pic.twitter.com/b5jypDMvKw
— Scottish Environment Protection Agency (@ScottishEPA) October 2, 2020
Between 40-70mm (1.5-2.7ins) of rain is expected to fall in most areas, with 120mm (4.7ins) possible over higher ground.
Road and rail disruption is expected, and the Met Office has warned homes and business are “likely” to be flooded, with fast-flowing or deep water also causing a danger to life.
It has raised the possibility of a power cuts and said there is a “good chance” some communities will be cut off by floods – with falling leaves potentially exacerbating the problem by blocking drains.
⚠️ Yellow Warning updated ⚠️
Rain across much of the UK
Saturday 0300 – Sunday 1200
Latest info 👉 https://t.co/QwDLMfRBfs
— Met Office (@metoffice) October 2, 2020
The yellow warning was imposed at 3am this morning, and is expected to remain in place until noon tomorrow.
Meanwhile the amber alert covering the north-east will come into force at 6pm, lasting for around 12 hours.
The forecast has prompted the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) to issue several flood alerts.
It said Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Angus are likely to be worst affected, but is also warning residents in Caithness and Sutherland, Findhorn, Nairn, Moray and Orkney to be vigilant.
Flood duty manager Marc Becker said: “Surface water and serious flooding is expected as persistent, heavy rain is due on Saturday evening and into Sunday across many parts of the north-east and east of Scotland.
“Sepa has issued a number of flood alerts and people should prepare for the potential flooding of infrastructure and significant transport disruption.”
The flood warnings come just weeks after heavy rain blighted communities, including Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire, in late August.
Stonehaven was previously hit with devastating flooding in 2009 and 2012, with work underway on a scheme to prevent it happening again.
Mark Irvine, chairman of the Stonehaven Flood Action Group, was one of many in the town installing flood gates on their property yesterday.
He said: “It’s clearly concerning and I imagine everyone else is feeling the same way.
“We’re still no further forward from six weeks ago, so we’re unsure if we are better protected now than we were then.
“It’s a time of concern for everyone.”
Transport Secretary Michael Matheson warned people to take care and said: “The rain will likely lead to difficult driving conditions, so I’d urge travellers to plan their journey ahead, drive to the conditions and follow police travel advice.”
And Chief Inspector Neil Lumsden said: “Be prepared to slow down and drive at speeds that are appropriate for the conditions, plan your journey in advance and allow extra time.”