42 people rescued from flooded supermarket

Picture: Michael Gillen
Picture: Michael Gillen
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MORE than 40 customers and staff were rescued from a flooded supermarket yesterday as Scotland braced itself for continued heavy rain and wind today.

But the bad weather is set to clear in time for Thursday, with forecasters predicting a Christmas Day with generally “crisp and even” weather for Scotland.

Rescuers took to inflatable dinghies to take 40 adults and two children from the Asda store at Queen’s Drive Retail Park, Kilmarnock, after the River Irvine burst its banks and surrounded the shop in water.

The incident occurred just after 6am, following a night during which much of Scotland had been battered by heavy downpours and strong winds. ­Ayrshire was particularly badly hit, with firefighters attending 11 flood-related incidents to rescue people and clear water from properties.

Emergency services helped 30 people escape from train carriages in the area which became stranded in approximately 5ft of water on Sunday night.

Train operators said the Glasgow Central to Carlisle service came to a halt after striking a “large volume of water” on the line. Firefighters used ladders to create a 3-metre bridge from a carriage, letting those on board be led to safety.

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ScotRail said one person was treated for a minor head injury following the incident.

A spokeswoman said: “[Sunday’s] Glasgow Central to Carlisle service came to a halt after striking a large volume of water between Kilmarnock and Auchinleck. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) attended and all passengers were evacuated safely.”

Yesterday, the Scottish Government’s environment minister warned people to stay alert to the effects of flooding, saying the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) had 12 alerts and 34 warnings in place across Scotland.

Dr Aileen McLeod said: “We have seen some areas of very localised flooding in Scotland today as a result of persistent and heavy rain overnight. The Scottish Government is continuing to work with SEPA, local authorities and the emergency services to co-ordinate a multi-agency response and ensure that people and businesses are fully prepared for possible flooding.”

She added: “The situation is being monitored closely and we are grateful for the efforts of the emergency responders who evacuated shoppers from flash-flooding in Kilmarnock.”

Met Office spokesman Dan Williams said: “The rain will clear away to the south on Tuesday. Wednesday will be a bit of a mix of a day, with some showers coming in from the west, but a lot of the country will be dry with some sunny spells. On Christmas Day, temperatures will drop by a few degrees and we will see a very crisp, dry day.”

An SFRS spokesman said: “Floodwater poses hidden dangers and people should avoid walking or driving through it. It may appear safe but you can’t see hazards beneath the surface, or even potentially strong currents. Around 6 inches of water can be enough to knock an adult off their feet.”

“We urge people to stay aware of the conditions, exercise caution and follow advice from local authorities and the police.”

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