Two dead as Scotland hit by severe flooding after Storm Babet

LONDON (Reuters) -Parts of eastern Scotland experienced severe flooding on Friday after Storm Babet brought heavy rainfall and winds of more than 70 mph (113 km/h) which overwhelmed defences and left thousands of homes without power.

Britain’s national weather forecaster, the Met Office, issued its first red warning for rain since February 2020, predicting some locations would see as much as 250 millimetres (9.84 inches). On Friday it extended the warning until 2259 GMT on Saturday.

A woman died on Thursday after being swept into a river, and a man was killed when a falling tree hit a van. Police Scotland said a search was under way on Friday after reports of a man trapped in a vehicle in floodwater.

“This is an exceptional event, and we are likely to continue to see significant impacts with the potential for further flooding,” Met Office Chief Meteorologist Andy Page said.

The Met Office said heavy rainfall was expected to continue to cause extensive flooding, road closures, loss of power and other essential services, and warned communities could be completely cut off for several days.

The local authority of Angus asked people to evacuate from more than 400 homes on Thursday and schools were closed. Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks said it was working to restore power to thousands of homes.

“Angus is in the middle of a very serious emergency. Flooding is unprecedented,” Angus Council said on social media.

“Conditions will continue to deteriorate for some time.”

It said flood defences in the town of Brechin were breached at around 0300 GMT on Friday, with river levels around 4.4 metres (14 ft) above normal.

Some areas were now only accessible via boat and rescue crews were working to get people to safety, it added.

The Met Office also has amber and yellow weather warnings in place for much of England.

A spokesperson for Leeds Bradford Airport in northern England said a TUI plane had left the runway whilst landing on Friday, with media reporting it had skidded in wet and windy conditions. Local emergency services said there were no reported injuries.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, Editing by William James and Michael Holden)