New flood threat after Storm Abigail wreaks havoc

A satellite picture of Abigail. Picture: University of Dundee

A satellite picture of Abigail. Picture: University of Dundee

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Western Scotland faces a new threat from flooding this weekend, hard on the heels of Storm Abigail causing havoc across the north.

Among the victims of the weather was Glasgow’s Christmas lights switch-on, due to take place at 6pm tomorrow. It was set to attract a crowd of thousands but has been cancelled.

Picture: Met Office

Picture: Met Office

Flood alerts were in force last night for Argyll and Bute, Ayrshire and Arran, Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders.

Last night, 500 electricity customers were still blacked out. Scottish Hydro Power Distribution was hoping to reconnect them, but engineers were hampered by lightning strikes. Director of customer services Dale Cargill said: “Our continuous programme of investment in our network to make it more resilient meant it stood up well.”

More than 50 schools were closed as a precaution yesterday – all 32 in Shetland and all 24 in the Western Isles. CalMac cancelled ferry sailings on nine of its west coast routes, including from the mainland to Gigha, Mull, Islay, Iona and South Uist. Snow presented an additional hazard on higher roads such as the A9.

Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team was called out to look for a hillwalker who attempted to climb Ben Nevis via Observatory Gully during the storm.

Dougal feeling the breeze at Saltcoats in Ayrshire. Picture: PA

Dougal feeling the breeze at Saltcoats in Ayrshire. Picture: PA

The team said that, due to the weather, “on the scale of difficulty this route is certain death”. The man was found with chest injuries and lowered to safety.

The Met Office issued a severe weather alert for heavy rain and potential flooding from 3pm today until 10pm tomorrow, when up to 100mm (4in) of rain is forecast. It covers the whole of the western half of Scotland, from Galloway to Fort William. Flood warnings are also in place for the north-west of England.

The Met Office said: “Given already-saturated conditions, flooding is possible either from standing water or from rivers which have remained high after the large rainfall totals over the last few days.”

Trees in Aviemore are blanketed in snow. Picture: Hemedia

Trees in Aviemore are blanketed in snow. Picture: Hemedia

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