Woman dies after being swept into river as hundreds of homes evacuated due to Storm Babet

A woman has died and hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes amid “unprecedented” levels of rainfall from Storm Babet.

Thousands more homes across eastern Scotland have been left without power due to the destructive storm – which has prompted a rare red warning from the Met Office.

Shona Robison, Scotland’s deputy first minister, has warned the worst impacts of the storm are yet to come.

Police say a 57-year-old woman died after being swept into the Water of Lee, a river in the eastern area of Angus.

Officials have also warned that the River South Esk, which runs through the town of Brechin, could be about to breach flood defences.

Storm Babet latest: Body found in river; evacuation order in place

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River overtops bridge in Scotland

‘Serious risk to life’

Angus Council say the river could soon reach “unprecedented” levels.

“The latest modelling is that river levels could reach an unprecedented 5 metres above normal levels,” the council said.

“The Brechin flood defences are designed to deal with river levels of 3.8 metres.

“This means that there is a serious risk to life from excessive flooding.”

A fallen tree in Brechin
A fallen tree in Brechin

Earlier, the authority ordered the evacuation of 400 homes in and around the town of Brechin.

Fire crews and the coastguard have been involved in the evacuation efforts.

Rest centres have been set up in Brechin, Montrose and Forfar.

Four severe flood warnings are in place along the South Esk and North Esk – for Brechin, Marykirk, Logie Mill and Craigo, and Finavon and Tannadice.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has issued 12 flood alerts and 16 flood warnings.

A map of flood affected areas in Scotland

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Storm Babet forces evacuations in red alert area

Some 18,500 homes in Scotland have been hit by power cuts, according to the Scottish and Southern Electricity Network (SSEN).

There has also been disruption due to travel, including on the train lines where a number of services have been cancelled, while flights to and from Aberdeen Airport have been cancelled due to the storm.

A number of attractions across Aberdeenshire have been forced to close, including the grounds of the royal residence, Balmoral Castle.

Funerals in Aberdeenshire have also been postponed until at least next week, the council has said.

Videos have also emerged of huge waves hitting Stonehaven Harbour in Aberdeenshire.

‘Protecting public our priority’

Following a meeting of the Scottish Government’s Resilience Room (SGoRR) on Thursday evening, Deputy First Minister Shona Robison said: “Protecting the public is our immediate priority and we are co-ordinating a national effort to ensure that people are safe.”

Waves seen crashing into Stonehaven Harbour in Aberdeenshire
Waves seen crashing into Stonehaven Harbour in Aberdeenshire

Waves seen crashing into Stonehaven Harbour in Aberdeenshire
Waves seen crashing into Stonehaven Harbour in Aberdeenshire

Ms Robison added: “The red warning has been expanded to cover further parts of Scotland and we expect weather conditions to deteriorate seriously overnight.

“Our message is clear – if you live in the areas covered by the red warning, please stay at home and do not travel, unless advised to relocate to a rest centre.

“With weather warnings in place for much of the country, I would urge everyone to be vigilant and to exercise extreme caution.”

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The unusual nature of Storm Babet

Met Office extends red alert

On Thursday, the Met Office extended its red weather warning from Aberdeenshire and Angus in eastern Scotland to cover the area north of Perth and Aberfeldy on Thursday.

The storm could bring up to 220mm of rain in some areas of eastern Scotland, an amount close to the highest ever 24-hour total for a “rainfall day”, Met Office figures show.

The storm is expected to rage overnight and into the weekend, with amber warnings for wind and rain issued for parts of northern England, the Midlands and northern Wales from noon on Friday to 6am on Saturday.

The Met  Office weather warnings for Friday 20 October
The Met Office weather warnings for Friday 20 October

But amber warnings still raise the prospect of injuries and danger to life, power cuts and damage to buildings and flooding.

A yellow warning for Northern Ireland is also in place from 3am on Friday to 9am on Saturday.

A further yellow rain warning covering the north and east of England and north Wales is also in place from midnight on Thursday to 6am on Saturday.

Storm Babet hit Ireland on Wednesday after sweeping in from the Atlantic, bringing with it heavy rainfall and causing extensive flooding in parts of the country.