Scores trapped as torrential rain lashes UK

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The Independent Online

Much of the UK was on flood alert today after torrential rain and strong winds caused scores of rescues and travel misery.

Scotland has been worst hit by the downpours, with several severe flood warnings in force after rivers burst and threatened their banks and flooded houses.

Fire crews in parts of Wales have also had to pluck people from houses and cars, with the deluges also cancelling a number of train services. The weather brought a washout end to a week of balmy style conditions.

Stonehaven in Grampian suffered some of the worst flooding after a river burst its banks in the town and caused 50 people to be rescued from their homes.

In Tayside, people were trapped in their cars and evacuated from their properties, with roads closed and trains cancelled as water levels soared across Angus, Perthshire, Grampian and Fife.

And in Dundee, the SPL match between Dundee United and Rangers was abandoned at half-time because of the heavy rain.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has issued 13 flood warnings - three of which are severe - with six warnings in place across northern England. Much of the rest of the UK is also subject to flood alerts.

Tom Tobler, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said the heavy rain was dying out across the UK but conditions will remain wet and windy.

This week will also see daytime temperatures return to single digits in much of the country, falling as low as 2C in some areas.

"The warm southerly winds have gone, and they are coming in from the west now," he said.

"We will be back to normal temperatures this week. It's going to be quite unsettled everywhere over the coming days, with rain at times for most of us and still quite windy."

In Wales, five adults and a baby were reportedly rescued from two houses in Meidrim, Carmarthenshire.

Two women were also stuck in floodwater in their car in Landore, Swansea, and four people stuck in two cars near Newcastle Emlyn.

Scotland's severe weather warnings affect the Rivers Spey and Isla, with experts warning that the levels are "extremely" high.

Service between Edinburgh and Aberdeen have been cancelled this morning.

The main road route north, the A90, was closed at Brechin and rail passengers travelling from Aberdeen to Edinburgh were left stranded for hours by flooded lines at Stonehaven and Montrose.

Homes in Arbroath, Brechin, Carnoustie and Maryton, Kirriemuir, were flooded.

Forth Coastguard had to assist police and fire crews as 50 people were evacuated from the Cameron Street area of Stonehaven and taken to the town hall.

Superintendent Innes Walker of Grampian Police said: "People should not take journeys unless absolutely necessary and they should listen to the radio for updates on road conditions.

"The advice we are getting from the Met Office is that conditions improved overnight but clearly there will be a knock on effect for commuters.

"Grampian Police are working with the local authority, Scottish Ambulance Service, Grampian Fire and Rescue and the Coastguard to alleviate the problems and minimise the effects of this flooding on affected people."

Aberdeen received 39mm of rain in the 12 hours from 6am to 6pm yesterday.

About 32mm fell in the Edinburgh area and 25mm in Glasgow.



Around 100 people were rescued from flooded-out properties in Huntley, Aberdeenshire, Grampian Fire and Rescue said.



The householders, many of whom were elderly, were taken to a nearby care centre after the River Deveron burst its banks this morning.



Eight teams of firefighters and a specialist flood team have been at the location helping to carry people out of riverside homes.



A spokesman said: "I think most of the people have been rescued, but all the crews are searching properties to make sure no-one is trapped."



No injuries have so far been reported, he added.



Grampian Fire and Rescue said it had experienced its highest demand overnight, with around 350 calls coming in the past 12 hours.



"Our crews and the control staff have been working extremely hard," the spokesman said.



Local people in Stonehaven, where water flooded through the streets and into the town centre, described conditions as the worst they had ever seen.



David Fleming, chairman of Stonehaven Community Council, described conditions as "horrendous".



He told BBC Radio Scotland: "The river flowed into the town through the main streets, Low Wood Road and Cameron Street.



"The water in the High Street was up to chest high."



He told the Good Morning Scotland programme that more than 50 people were evacuated from their homes, while others who wanted to remain in their homes retreated to the first floor level.



And he was critical of the speed of response.



He said: "Once the river burst its banks obviously water got everywhere.



"But it had been raining for 24 hours so it should have been expected that something drastic was going to happen.



"I think we have to get used to the fact that it's going to happen more often and have our emergency response slightly more tightly co-ordinated," said Mr Fleming.



"I think most of the emergency services I spoke to seem to have been slightly overwhelmed and that's something we've got to correct."

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