Storm Babet has ‘more to come’ as widespread floods cause three deaths

Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf warned ‘we have not seen the last of this’ after three people died.

PA Reporters
Saturday 21 October 2023 00:13 BST
Members of the emergency services help local residents to safety in Brechin, Scotland (PA/Andrew Milligan)
Members of the emergency services help local residents to safety in Brechin, Scotland (PA/Andrew Milligan)

Storm Babet will continue to batter the country on Saturday after causing widespread flooding and claiming three lives.

Scotland will experience its second red “danger to life” warning while torrential rain and wind sweeps across the UK, prompting First Minister Humza Yousaf to warn:  “We have not seen the last of this.”

The rare red weather warning for rain is in place for parts of eastern Scotland all day, while there are yellow weather warnings for wind and rain across much of England.

An amber warning for rain is in place across parts of north-east England including Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester and Nottingham.

Across England, there were over 283 flood warnings and 243 alerts on Friday evening, while 55,000 people were left without power as a result of the storm.

By Friday evening, around 45,000 of those were reconnected to the grid but 10,000 were still without power, the Energy Networks Association said.

The Met Office said in a post on X the highest rainfall total on Friday was 84mm in Sheffield, South Yorkshire.

A man in his 60s died after getting caught in fast-flowing flood water in the town of Cleobury Mortimer in Shropshire, while heavy winds forced a passenger plane to skid off a runway in Leeds Bradford Airport.

The death was the third since Storm Babet first hit the UK on Wednesday.

Police Scotland previously said a falling tree hit a van near Forfar in Angus on Thursday evening, killing the 56-year-old driver.

A 57-year-old woman also died on Thursday after being swept into a river in the region.

Flooding caused 70-minute delays on the A1 near Grantham on Friday, National Highways said, while further south, Suffolk declared a major incident as Storm Babet caused “major flooding” across the county.

The rural village of Debenham was cut off by flooding, residents said, while tractors were being used to rescue people caught in the flood water.

Around 50 people were sheltering in the local leisure centre there and sleeping on crash mats, staff said.

In one case, local man Simon O’Brien used a homemade paddle boat which he built for his grandchildren to rescue elderly residents trapped in their homes by flood water.

His partner Mary Scott told the PA news agency: “It’s been sitting in the garden all summer waiting for an opportunity to launch.

“His family have teased him mercilessly about its ‘seaworthiness’ (but) it floats and came in very useful.”

Elsewhere fire services in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire shared pictures on X of vehicles semi-submerged in water after drivers were rescued.

The “unprecedented” weather event has already forced some residents in eastern Scotland to evacuate their homes, cut off rural communities, and caused roads and bridges to collapse.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) confirmed it had attended almost 70 weather-related incidents across Scotland including rescues from homes and flood waters.

The SFRS said it had received around 750 emergency calls across Scotland and attended 300 incidents since Thursday. Meanwhile 30,000 customers lost power but were mostly reconnected by 5pm, with 3,800 properties still without power on Friday evening.

More than 75 people were in rescue centres in Angus, east Scotland, while Angus Council said people in more than 60 homes in Brechin, who refused previous evacuation attempts, required rescue.

Jacqui Semple, head of risk, resilience and safety for Angus Council, said: “People are devastated. This is awful.”

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