Storm Babet in pictures as two dead and town evacuated during red warning downpours

Rare red weather warning issued as Met Office alerts for heavy downpours cover much of the UK

Alexander Butler
Friday 20 October 2023 12:40 BST
Fire crews and coastguard evacuate Scottish town as Storm Babet hits

Storm Babet is wreaking havoc in the north of the UK, with two people dead, hundreds of homes flooded or evacuated and another day of torrential rain to come.

A rare red weather warning was extended for parts of Scotland as amber and yellow warnings are in place for the rest of the UK with heavy downpours set to move south on Friday and into the weekend.

The extreme weather caused flooding in some areas of eastern Scotland and led to the evacuation of hundreds of homes, while the Irish army was deployed to parts of Cork, Ireland.

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A boy sits on a rescue boat in Brechin, Scotland, which was flooded as torrential rain battered the town overnight (PA)
Waves crash against Seaham Lighthouse in County Durham during Storm Babet (REUTERS)

A 56-year-old was killed near Forfar in Angus, Scotland, after a falling tree hit a van, Police Scotland said. A 57-year-old woman was also swept into a river and found dead in Scotland.

The Met Office red weather warning began at 6pm on Thursday and has been expanded to include Dundee, Perth and Kinross, as well as Angus and Aberdeenshire, where 20ft high waves were seen crashing in Stonehaven harbour.

Amber warnings for wind and rain have been issued for parts of northern England, the Midlands and northern Wales from noon on Friday to 6am on Saturday.

A woman wades through floodwater while clutching her belongings after Storm Babet battered Brechin, Scotland (PA)
A woman looks out at flood water outside her home in Brechin, Scotland, after Storm Babet battered the town overnight (PA)

Around 10,000 homes in Scotland lost power due to the storm and Angus Council evacuated more than 400 homes in the red weather warning area.

The council said yesterday: “We have identified approximately 335 homes in Brechin, and an additional 87 homes in Tannadice and Finavon where residents will be asked to evacuate for their own safety.”

Those affected were advised to attend three rest centres that were set up in the area.

Members of a rescue team wade through the flood waters in Brechin after hundreds of homes were evacuated (Getty Images)
A man walks through sea foam in Seaburn, Sunderland, as Storm Babet batters the country (PA)

The British Geological Survey warned Storm Babet could cause landslides in Scotland while the Scottish Environment Protection Agency said it was expecting “extensive river and surface water flooding”

In one video taken in Cork, a red car couuld be seen tipped on its side as it had fallen into part of a collapsed road, with water rushing through underneath into a field.

Trains, planes and ferries were also affected by the storm. ScotRail cancelled six services across Scotland until Saturday.

A boat sinks inside the harbour in Stonehaven on the east coast of Scotland (AFP via Getty Images)
A person looks from a window at a submerged car in flood water in Brechin, Scotland (PA)

Ferry links between Aberdeen, Orkney and Shetland were also cancelled, as well as Pentland Firth crossings from Scrabster to Stromness.

Caledonian MacBrayne suspended or diverted a number of Western Isles services because of forecast “strong winds and sea swell”.

The Ullapool-Stornoway crossing, the main link to Lewis and Harris, was cancelled all day on Thursday. The crossing from Lochboisdale in South Uist to Mallaig was diverted to Oban.

Floodwater in Cork, Ireland, where army and civil defence units have been deployed to help support evacuation measures (PA)

Flights were also affected, with Wideroe cancelling its round-trip from Stavanger to Aberdeen.

The chief meteorologist for the Met Office, Jason Kelly, said yesterday: “100–150mm of rain is expected to fall quite widely within the warning period, with some locations likely to see 200–250mm, which is expected to cause considerable impacts with flooding likely.

“Storm Babet will track gradually northwards in the coming days, and although the most significant impacts are expected within the red and amber warning areas, there will still be wider impacts for much of the UK from this wind and rain.”

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