Scotland’s weather: T in the Park defies the great downpour

REVELLERS celebrated as T in the Park went ahead yesterday despite a monsoon-style deluge that wreaked havoc across much of the UK.

The festival site at Balado near Kinross was affected by rain throughout the day, but the heaviest downpours fell across the south east of Scotland with some areas experiencing a month’s rainfall in a single day.

At least 100 properties in Edinburgh’s Stockbridge were flooded, forcing residents to leave their homes to spend the day at a local primary school.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The popular Taste of Edinburgh festival, which features pop-up restaurants, chef demonstrations and exhibitors, was cancelled for the entire weekend after the Meadows became waterlogged.

The A720 Edinburgh City bypass was closed between Hermiston Gait and Straiton from around 9am until yesterday afternoon and drivers reported 30 minute delays near Edinburgh Airport.

“This has not been an easy decision and we are all absolutely devastated” said Justin Clarke, chief operating officer of Taste Festivals.

“So much hard work has gone into making this show happen with the event team, sponsors, restaurants, suppliers and exhibitors all going above and beyond.

“We have worked through the night with our Health and Safety experts and the City of Edinburgh Council Parks Department to do what we can to make the site operational, but despite all our efforts we have been forced to cancel the show.”

Severe weather warnings were issued in south-west England where villages where left stranded after the deluge and in Northumberland, a man in his 20s died when his car left a road during torrential rain.

Among the worst hit was the village of Yealmpton in Devon where dozens fled their homes as the fast flowing River Yealm flooded homes and carried large tree branches down stream. In Dorset, police warned residents to avoid Lyme Regis after heavy rainfall led to several large mud slides.

In Stockbridge, firefighters used sandbags to prevent homes being flooded further after the torrential rainfall saw the Water of Leith rise and burst through temporary flood defences guarding the historic colonies.

Streets were flooded and residents driven out of their homes as the water rose just before 8am. Edinburgh City Council estimated that between 30 and 40 homes were affected, bringing back memories of the severe flooding that hit the area in 2000.

One resident, Stephen Jones, described the scene saying that he saw Dunrobin Place “filling up before my eyes”.

“One of the new flood defences must have been breached” he said. “From my neighbour’s house, I could see a torrent of water gush into the end of the street. It was filling up like a bath.”

According to Jones, a one-tonne sandbag being used as a temporary dam to plug a gap in the new flood prevention defences had been swept aside by the pressure of the Water of Leith in spate.

Firefighters and council workers pumped out the water which had also gathered in Kemp Place, Glenogle Place and Avondale Place after a sandbag was breached in Rintoul Place.

Isabella Robecka of Kemp Place, one of the streets worst affected, said: “I have just left the house and I am staying with a neighbour. I am really not sure what is happening. I have been looking through the window into the house and I can see that the carpet is wet now. I am just desperately hoping that the water doesn’t get any higher than that.”

Bill Brownlee of Collins Place said: “I got flooded back in 2000, so I know what can happen, but that doesn’t make it any easier. My cellar is flooded but it hasn’t got into the house yet. I have been monitoring the water level through the trap door into the cellar in my bedroom.”

Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue said it had received 140 flood related calls since midnight yesterday.

Scotland’s environment agency Sepa issued flood warnings for the Roseburn, Stockbridge, Warriston and Haddington areas of Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Fans at Scotland’s biggest music festival have endured soggy conditions this weekend. Crowds of up to 85,000 flocked to Balado, near Kinross, for the T in the Park festival.

Forecasters reported 20mm of rain at the measuring station in nearby Leuchars, Fife.

The Met Office said the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh measured 39mm of rainfall yesterday. In the past week 66.5mm have fallen. The July average is 56.7mm.

Forecasters said the worst of the deluge has now past, although more rain is expected this afternoon in Edinburgh. Glasgow and Argyll will see the best conditions, although bands of low pressure across Scotland mean “unsettled” weather is expected.

Dave Clark, forecaster at the Met Office in Aberdeen, said the recent warm weather and fronts moving up from Europe had led to downpours.

He said: “We’ve seen warm humid air coming up off the continent and that tends to end up in heavy showers, which is what we’ve sent here. There’s been a lot of moisture in the air and with warm, humid conditions the atmosphere holds more water. Then when it does let it go we see these kinds of downpours, although we haven’t seen thunder which has mostly been down south.”