Two bridges 'wash away' as Scottish river bursts banks

Floods batter Britain: Two bridges ‘wash away’ as Scottish river bursts banks forcing up to 500 homes to be evacuated and schools to shut… as a week’s worth of rain is due TODAY putting 125 areas in UK at risk of rising waters

  • Emergency services help people to leave dozens of houses in high-risk area of Hawick in Scottish Borders 
  • Cross-border rail line is closed today after two footbridges are ‘washed away’ after the River Annan rose
  • Unsettled weather is likely to continue into the weekend, with another wet front arriving from West today
  • Greatest rainfall today expected in Cumbria and South West, where Dartmoor is facing up to 80mm (3.1in)
  • ** Have you been affected by flooding today? Please send your photos to: pictures@mailonline.co.uk **
  • Families have been evacuated from a town in Britain after hundreds of homes were threatened by flooding – while a cross-border rail line remained closed today after two road bridges were ‘washed away’ amid torrential rain.

    Emergency services helped people to leave dozens of houses in a high-risk area of Hawick in the Scottish Borders after declaring 500 properties could be inundated amid heavy downpours that also struck the Lake District.

    Officers in Hawick, which is 15 miles north of the border with England, called in the Borders Water Rescue Team, mountain rescue and fire crews to help evacuate properties, and schools and health centres were closed.

    Some 40 miles away in the Dumfries and Galloway town of Annan, two footbridges – the Cuthbertson Bridge and Diamond Jubilee Bridge – were swept away as the River Annan rose. Network Rail Scotland said the two bridges destroyed were north of the railway with trains unable to pass over a viaduct, closing the Dumfries to Carlisle line.

    Despite the rain, forecasters highlighted how temperatures were very mild for the time of year, with highs of 17.3C (63.1F) in Suffolk. They added that the unsettled weather was likely to continue into the weekend, with another wet front arriving from the West today amid a further series of weather warnings for up to 80mm (3.1in) more rain.

    The greatest rainfall today was expected in Cumbria and South West England, where Dartmoor was facing up to 80mm (3.1in) – more than a week’s worth, when compared to the October average for the region of 215mm (8.4in). In other areas, the Met Office anticipated up to 40mm (1.57in) in South West Scotland and 60mm (2.4in) in Wales.

    Just two days before Cop26 starts in Glasgow, Network Rail said it could not let trains pass over the Annan Viaduct ‘pending a daylight safety inspection’, with the Dumfries to Carlisle line remaining closed ‘until further notice’.

    Other trains were disrupted by the weather, including the Edinburgh to Glasgow Central via Shotts, Edinburgh to Glasgow Queen Street via Falkirk High and Glasgow Queen Street to Alloa/Aberdeen/Inverness services.

    The Scottish Environment Protection Agency issued 14 flood warnings and seven alerts today, while in England 47 alerts and 23 warnings were in place from the Environment Agency. Natural Resources Wales had 33 alerts out. 

    In Peebles, the River Tweed burst its banks and there were fears in Hawick that the Teviot would be next. A rest centre was set up at the town’s Teviotdale Leisure Centre to provide shelter to residents of at-risk areas. A local pub, The Bourtree, offered free tea and coffee and said it would stay open overnight to accommodate them. 

    People are photographed watching the River Teviot from their homes at Hawick in the Scottish Borders overnight

    People are photographed watching the River Teviot from their homes at Hawick in the Scottish Borders overnight

    The River Teviot is seen flowing in Hawick overnight after torrential rainfall hit the town in the Scottish Borders

    The River Teviot is seen flowing in Hawick overnight after torrential rainfall hit the town in the Scottish Borders

    The River Teviot is seen flowing high and fast in Hawick overnight after families were evacuated from their homes

    The River Teviot is seen flowing high and fast in Hawick overnight after families were evacuated from their homes

    A man is seen fitting flood defences to his house in Hawick overnight as residents were evacuated from the Scottish Borders

    A man is seen fitting flood defences to his house in Hawick overnight as residents were evacuated from the Scottish Borders

    Chief Inspector Vinnie Fisher, local area commander for the Scottish Borders, said: ‘We are working with our colleagues at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Scottish Borders Council to move those affected.’

    He added that the emergency services were ensuring all those evacuated would be accommodated. The Scottish Borders Council closed schools and NHS Borders shut Teviot Health Centre in the Roxburghshire town.

    An £88million flood prevention scheme being built in Hawick is due for completion in 2023. Hawick Flood Group chairman Stuart Marshall said: ‘We have been working hard all day distributing sandbags.’ 

    An update last night from Sepa stated that the River Teviot had reached a peak of 9.5ft before receding and families were told they could return to their homes. Earlier, 14 flood warnings were in place in the Borders.

    Flooding in Peebles was ‘very serious’ with schools closed yesterday. Seven schools shut in Dumfries and Galloway. Elsewhere, water poured on to the street at Whitesands in Dumfries from the River Nith.

    Stephen Rutt, from Dumfries, posted images of the river, saying: ‘The Nith is anarchic at the best of times, veering wildly between no flow and flood. But I have never seen it like this before.’

    The downpours also caused transport chaos on the roads. Flooding shut the A709 near Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire, and Traffic Scotland said it had reports of floods on the M74 near Abington, Lanarkshire. 

    Saturday's weather

    Sunday's weather

    Forecasters from the Met Office say that the unsettled weather is likely to continue into the weekend

    Rainfall totals yesterday

    Rainfall totals yesterday

    Some 370mm (14.6in) of rain was recorded at Honister Pass in Cumbria between 1am on Wednesday and 6pm yesterday

    The Scottish Environment Protection Agency issued 14 flood warnings and seven alerts covering the country today

    The Scottish Environment Protection Agency issued 14 flood warnings and seven alerts covering the country today

    The Environment Agency had 47 alerts and 23 warnings in place

    Natural Resources Wales had 33 alerts in place

    The Environment Agency had 47 alerts and 23 warnings in place (left), while Natural Resources Wales had 33 alerts (right)

    Elsewhere, a landslide blocked the B725 road around six miles from Dumfries and as police warned of large areas of flooding on that road from Dumfries to Glencaple.

    A Met Office yellow warning for southern Scotland and South Lanarkshire covered Strathclyde, Central Scotland, Tayside, Fife and the Lothians yesterday. Forecasters expect more rain today, with more disruption possible.

    A yellow warning of rain, which includes Yorkshire and Humber, was in force until 3pm today. Another for South-West England applies until 9am tonight while one is already in force in Wales and lasts until 3pm today.

    Cumbria Police warned some roads may be impassable, while South Lakes police tweeted the A591 Rydal to Grasmere road was not passable ‘due to the depth of flood waters in several locations’.

    The force urged people not to take unnecessary risks and only to travel if they really need to.

    Residents in the Cumbrian towns of Cockermouth and Keswick – both flooded in 2015 and 2009 – started laying sandbags and putting up flood barriers outside their homes as the Rivers Kent, Cocker and Derwent burst their banks.

    The Met Office tweeted yesterday evening that 370mm (14.6in) of rain had been recorded at Honister Pass in Cumbria between 1am on Wednesday and 6pm yesterday. 

    A man is seen watching the swelling River Teviot in Hawick overnight as the Scottish Borders are hit by major rainfall

    A man is seen watching the swelling River Teviot in Hawick overnight as the Scottish Borders are hit by major rainfall

    The River Teviot is seen flowing past an empty restaurant in Hawick overnight as the Scottish Borders is hit by heavy rain

    The River Teviot is seen flowing past an empty restaurant in Hawick overnight as the Scottish Borders is hit by heavy rain

    A major incident was declared in Hawick, pictured overnight, after sustained heavy rain caused the River Teviot to swell

    A major incident was declared in Hawick, pictured overnight, after sustained heavy rain caused the River Teviot to swell

    Around 500 homes are thought to be affected in Hawick with residents evacuated from their properties overnight

    Around 500 homes are thought to be affected in Hawick with residents evacuated from their properties overnight 

    The River Teviot is seen flowing high in Hawick overnight as a major incident was declared in the town in the Scottish Borders

    The River Teviot is seen flowing high in Hawick overnight as a major incident was declared in the town in the Scottish Borders

    It reported 132mm (5.2in) of rain at Eskdalemuir in Dumfries and Galloway in the same period.

    Aidan McGivern, a Met Office meteorologist, said: ‘These are exceptional rainfall totals for even the wettest part of the UK, which is Cumbria on average, and for the wettest part of the year.’ 

    Scotland’s transport minister Graeme Dey said: ‘The conditions could potentially bring disruption to the trunk road and rail networks, so it’s important people plan their journeys before they set off.

    ‘Motorists should make sure their routes are available, follow travel advice from Police Scotland and drive to the conditions.’

    He added: ‘If you are planning to travel by rail, please check with your operator ahead of your journey. This is particularly important for cross-border travellers following the earlier disruption to services.’ 

    Trees are seen submerged in the River Teviot in Hawick overnight as the Scottish Borders town is hit by major flooding

    Trees are seen submerged in the River Teviot in Hawick overnight as the Scottish Borders town is hit by major flooding

    A couple are seen watching the River Teviot in Hawick overnight as a major incident was declared in the town

    A couple are seen watching the River Teviot in Hawick overnight as a major incident was declared in the town 

    Trees are seen submerged in the River Teviot in Hawick overnight as a major incident is declared in the Scottish town

    Trees are seen submerged in the River Teviot in Hawick overnight as a major incident is declared in the Scottish town

    People are seen watching the River Teviot from their homes in Hawick in the Scottish Borders overnight

    People are seen watching the River Teviot from their homes in Hawick in the Scottish Borders overnight

    People walk over a bridge as trees are seen submerged in the River Teviot in Hawick in the Scottish Borders overnight

    People walk over a bridge as trees are seen submerged in the River Teviot in Hawick in the Scottish Borders overnight

    Yesterday, major routes into Glasgow were submerged, causing motorists to abandon their vehicles, while some train services between the city and London were also cancelled because of the poor weather.

    Travellers making their way to the Cop26 climate change conference from London would ordinarily use the west coast service to reach Glasgow, but speed restrictions were put in place.

    Glasgow’s Great Western Road, in the city’s West End, was left underwater, with drivers forced to leave their cars when the flooding hit.

    Workers at the Sellafield nuclear power plant were also allowed to leave early and Cumbria police urged people to stay at home if possible.

    Trees are seen submerged in the River Teviot in Hawick overnight as the Scottish Borders are hit by flooding

    Trees are seen submerged in the River Teviot in Hawick overnight as the Scottish Borders are hit by flooding

    Sandbags are seen outside a business in Hawick in the Scottish Borders overnight as it is threatened by flooding

    Sandbags are seen outside a business in Hawick in the Scottish Borders overnight as it is threatened by flooding

    The River Teviot is seen flowing past a partially built bridge in Hawick overnight as the Scottish Borders sees heavy rain

    The River Teviot is seen flowing past a partially built bridge in Hawick overnight as the Scottish Borders sees heavy rain

    A man is seen fitting flood defences to his house in Hawick overnight as heavy rain falls over the Scottish Borders

    A man is seen fitting flood defences to his house in Hawick overnight as heavy rain falls over the Scottish Borders

    Sandbags are seen outside a house in Hawick overnight as a major incident was declared following sustained heavy rain

    Sandbags are seen outside a house in Hawick overnight as a major incident was declared following sustained heavy rain

    In Cumbria, Ray Milner said he feared his Cockermouth home would be flooded a third time in 12 years if projected river heights were borne out last night. ‘Even slightly rainy, it gets me stressed,’ he said.

    ‘There are sensors at various points of the river and the Environment Agency make computer projections from them. The one for about 3am is for well above three metres (10ft).’

    He said anything above two metres (6.5ft) would see water enter his property. Meanwhile Gillian Jackson said several of her holiday lets in Cockermouth had also been flooded again. 

    ‘We’ve been through this before so it’s just get up, get on with it,’ she told the BBC. ‘Yes it’s upsetting but we’ve kind of got a bit hardened to it, got used to it, and we’ve just got to crack on and sort it out.’

    ** Have you been affected by flooding today? Please send your photos to: pictures@mailonline.co.uk ** 

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