Scotland is braced for flooding misery with no Christmas let-up from the deluge of winter storms.
Flood alerts have been issued across a vast swathe of the country, with some of the most at risk areas to be found in southern Scotland. The Met Office has issued severe wind warnings for the Western and Northern Isles, as well as severe rain warnings for Strathclyde, Central Scotland, Tayside, Fife, Dumfries and Galloway, Lothian and the Borders.
Nine flood warnings and a flood alert were issed by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency for various parts of Perthshire and Tayside, including Pitlochry, Glen Lyon, Crieff, Ballinluig and Callander, as well as parts of Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway, and the Borders.
The North East and North West of England is also expected to bear the brunt again, as Storm Eva rolls in after leaving almost 2,000 homes and businesses in Ireland without electricity this morning.
Armed forces have been called in and hundreds of Environment Agency (EA) staff are on stand-by to bolster flood defences as more sandbags and water pumps are rushed to Cumbria which as experienced some of the worst flooding in the UK. Rain will spread across Wales and northern England through the course of Christmas Day, reaching southern parts of Scotland during the early hours of Boxing Day.
The latest deluge will come as towns and villages across Britain are still clearing up the aftermath of Storm Desmond earlier this month, which left hundreds of homes and businesses under water in Cumbria.
The Met Office has issued an amber alert for the county, highlighting the increased likelihood of “medium impacts” from the rain, meaning some flooding of homes, businesses and transport links is possible and warning people to be prepared to protect themselves and their property.
While there is still uncertainty over where the heaviest rainfall will come, around 2.4in to 3.2in (60mm to 80mm) is likely to fall quite widely, with a chance of up to 5.9in (150mm) over high ground.
MeteoGroup forecaster Matt Martin said: “During the night the band of rain which has been affecting Ireland will push across Britain, and the winds will strengthen.
“We can expect three to six hours of heavy rain in Cumbria overnight and, looking further ahead, rain will be persistent there throughout the day on Christmas Day.”
Environment Secretary Liz Truss chaired a meeting of the Government’s Cobra committee on Wednesday.
The Cobra meeting was to ensure every resource available was being deployed in the right place, she said.
More than 700 Environment Agency staff are ready to respond to flooding, alongside armed forces personnel, with around 85 per cent of the country’s temporary flood barriers now in Cumbria as more sandbags are delivered to areas shown in the latest forecasts to be most at risk.
And more than 20 extra pumps are in the North of England, four of these high-volume pumps capable of moving one metric tonne of water per second.
Elsewhere, the EA said for the next three days along the River Severn in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Worcestershire and the River Ouse in York, there is a possibility of sections of roads being flooded, travel disruption and delays due to temporary flood defences being deployed.