Scotland weather: Emergency steps as more flooding expected

Sandbags are piled up in Peebles, which last week suffered its worst flooding in nearly 50 years as a result of Storm Frank. Photograph: David Cheskin/PA
Sandbags are piled up in Peebles, which last week suffered its worst flooding in nearly 50 years as a result of Storm Frank. Photograph: David Cheskin/PA
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SCOTLAND is preparing itself for more flooding as the country continues to clean up after Storm Frank.

The Met Office issued amber “be prepared” warnings of rain for much of north-east and central Scotland for today. These areas were among the worst affected by Storm Frank on Wednesday.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) currently has 11 flood warnings in place, mostly for the Tayside area, and three flood alerts.

There is an amber alert covering Grampian, Tayside, central Scotland and Fife in place until 3pm tomorrow.

Vincent Fitzsimons, from Sepa, said most rivers are not predicted to peak until today.

He said: “Unfortunately we are expecting flooding in those north-eastern areas of Scotland. That’s property flooding and damage to infrastructure and utilities.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said people in the affected areas should follow official advice. “There are real concerns again for this weekend and we have Met Office warnings in place for the north-east of Scotland,” he said. “I saw the areas that were very badly affected by the intense rain earlier in the week.”

The Met Office warned some areas of Scotland could see as much as 20cm (8in) over the weekend and into tomorrow. It said: “Given the saturated nature of the ground, there is a greater risk of surface water and river flooding.”

Ministers have also stated that they will consider emergency financial assistance for any local authority to help deal with the costs of flood damage. The Bellwin Scheme can give financial assistance to councils who face an undue financial burden as a result of large-scale emergencies. There is no automatic entitlement to assistance and local authorities are expected to include a small amount within their annual budget to deal with unforeseen emergencies.

If this incident does not qualify for extra funding, it can be included in any further claims in 2015-16.

Swinney said: “Various parts of Scotland are experiencing emergency situations caused by the flooding after Storm Frank. This government is committed to helping communities get back on their feet as quickly as possible.

“I have agreed to activate the Bellwin Scheme which provides support to local authorities to assist with immediate and unforeseen costs of ­dealing with the latest flood damage.”

Police said the body of a kayaker who went missing during the storms had been recovered from the River Findhorn in Moray. Elsewhere, a 36-year-old canoeist died after falling into the River Garry near Invergarry, south of Loch Ness, on Thursday afternoon.