SNOWSTORMS have hit Scotland just as the country struggles to clear up after flooding caused by unprecedented river levels.
Flooded homeowners in the northeast face prolonged misery with a forecast for yet more torrential rain tonight. Meanwhile in the south, snow has caused havoc on the roads from the Borders right across Dumfries and Galloway and into Ayrshire.
Up to 50 cars were stuck on the A7 between Langholm and Longtown and the A68 in the Borders was blocked both ways by cars stuck near Jedburgh.
The A701 was also blocked near the Forest of Ae by a tanker and HGV. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon chaired a further meeting of the Scottish government’s resilience committee and said the recent weather had had a “devastating impact” on many communities across eastern Scotland. She is due to visit Inverurie later today to meet people affected by flooding.
Scottish Borders Council said the heavy fall of snow had been a “significant event”.
Dozens of homes were evacuated in Inverurie, Port Elphinstone and Ellon in Aberdeenshire as the swollen River Don sent flood waters racing down the streets on Thursday night and yesterday morning.
Water also poured from the River Ythan, prompting the emergency services to mount an operation to rescue residents.
The Keith, Huntly, Turriff and Kintore areas, as well as parts of Aberdeen, were among those affected by the flooding.
Record water levels on the river left villagers across the area assessing the damage and counting the cost of the clean-up.
The Met Office has issued a fresh yellow “be aware” severe weather alert, and two severe flood warnings remained in force last night.
Forecasters said up to another 30mm would fall between 6pm and 6am across Aberdeenshire, which could delay floodwaters subsiding.
The Met added that the highest rainfall would be over higher ground, with 10-20mm lower down.
A spokeswoman said: “With saturated ground, this has the potential to prolong ongoing flooding impacts in eastern Scotland, but is currently not expected to lead to renewed flooding issues.”
Dozens of homes were evacuated on Thursday night as flood water turned streets into raging torrents.
People were put up in rest centres while several hotels accommodated flood victims for the night free of charge.
In Inverurie, Strathburn Hotel co-owner David Barrack said: “We’ve had people sleeping here, there and everywhere.
“A pregnant woman arrived at about 1am and we had no more rooms but a young man at the bar said he would move his stuff and slept on the floor to give her the room.”
Police Scotland declared the flooding as a major incident.
Chief Superintendent Campbell Thomson said: “Our focus over the past 36 hours has been the Donside area, Keith to Huntly, Turriff, Inverurie, Kintore, Ellon and into Aberdeen including Riverside Drive and the Grandholm area.
“Additionally, we continue to support the recovery effort in Deeside, specifically in the Ballater and Braemar area, following the impact of Storm Frank.”
River gauges at Haughton, near Inverurie, measured the Don at 5.6m, its highest level for 45 years. The river reached 5.5m downstream at Parkhill in Aberdeen.
In Ellon, the Ythan stood at 4.4m at its peak, 1.2m above the previous record level 33 years ago, according to Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) figures.
The agency’s severe flood warnings cover Inverurie and nearby Kintore.
Aberdeen City Council urged residents to keep alert, calling on those in the Grandholm and Culter areas to “remain extra vigilant”.
Richard Brown, head of hydrology at Sepa, said water levels around the River Don were “pretty exceptional”.
He added: “We have had a gauging station up at Alford for the last 42 years and it has exceeded anything we have ever recorded.”
NHS Grampian raised concerns over private water supplies and urged residents to drink bottled water.