Snow and rains hit north-east Scotland

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The Independent Online

The worst rain and October winds since records began hit the north-east of Scotland yesterday, less than 24 hours after torrential rain swept across the south and central parts of the country.

The worst rain and October winds since records began hit the north-east of Scotland yesterday, less than 24 hours after torrential rain swept across the south and central parts of the country.

Emergency services were stretched to the limit as drinking water supplies were contaminated and rivers across Aberdeenshire burst their banks, flooding homes, businesses, roads and railways.

A month's worth of rain fell in a matter of hours, and gale-force winds whipped up rivers to burst their banks.

"The north-east suffered a rise of more than 200 per cent on normal rainfall levels for October in one night," said a Met Office spokesman.

The worst affected areas appeared to be around Peterhead and the valley of the river Don, which reached its highest level for 30 years. Last night, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency warned that flooding would get worse as the river level continued to rise. Four other rivers, including the Dee, were also at dangerous levels.

The main Aberdeen-to-Inverness railway was closed due to landslips and flooding while the line south from Aberdeen was also blocked.

Ferries from Aberdeen to the Northern Isles were cancelled, and the overnight service from Shetland and Orkney to the Scottish mainland was also suspended.

In the Highlands, more than 13,000 people were advised to boil water for cooking and drinking after supplies around Dingwall and much of the Black Isle were contaminated by the rain.

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