Trapped in their homes by Storm Babet: Inside weather ravaged Brechin as water levels reach 'window sills'

20 October 2023, 11:32 | Updated: 20 October 2023, 11:38

Residents trapped in flood-ravaged Brechin as Storm Babet hit
Residents trapped in flood-ravaged Brechin as Storm Babet hit. Picture: Alamy

By StephenRigley

Rescue crews are risking their lives to save residents trapped inside the homes after Storm Babet struck.

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Town hall bosses in Brechin, Angus, issued a plea to evacuate around 400 homes in the Scottish town amid fears the ‘unprecedented’ conditions could see the River Esk burst its banks.

The river burst it's banks in the early hours of this morning.

One resident, who defied the warning and opted to stay at home, said: "I’m waiting for the fire brigade to come and get me. They’re getting my elderly neighbour first. She was screaming in her bungalow.

"The water is right in my house. It’s come right up. I’ve lost everything."

A person looks from a window at floodwater in Brechin as Storm Babet batters the country
A person looks from a window at floodwater in Brechin as Storm Babet batters the country. Picture: Alamy
Rescuers battle to save residents in Brechin
Rescuers battle to save residents in Brechin. Picture: Alamy

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One family of three, who include a woman in her 60s, her son and grandson, have had to take higher ground after their ground floor flat flooded at around 5am on Friday morning.

Councillor Jill Scott, said she was contacted by the family who are currently trapped in the hallway upstairs.

Scott, who represents the Brechin and Edzell ward on Angus Council as an independent councillor, described the floods as "horrific" with people trapped and hundreds of homes flooded.

She said: "It's all white water running round there. It's like a river.

"It's horrific. It's just absolutely horrendous. I've never seen anything like it. People are trapped in closes, not even in River Street but round the back at Nursery Park. Some have been stuck there for hours.

"The boats are trying to get to them. They can't get to them because the current is too strong. There will be hundreds of houses flooded.

"It unbelievable. It's devastating. I don't know what the council's going to do to be honest - how many people they are going to have to rehome. People will have lost everything.

"People are trapped in closes, not even in River Street but round the back at Nursery Park. Some have been stuck there for hours.

"The boats are trying to get to them. They can’t get to them because the current is too strong.

There will be hundreds of houses flooded.‘It unbelievable. It’s devastating. I don’t know what the council’s going to do to be honest – how many people they are going to have to rehome.‘People will have lost everything."

Rescuers take a boy to safety after Storm Babet hit Brechin
Rescuers take a boy to safety after Storm Babet hit Brechin. Picture: Alamy
Brechin after Storm Babet hit
Brechin after Storm Babet hit. Picture: Alamy

Read More: Scottish town told to evacuate as Storm Babet batters UK and Met Office issues red 'danger to life' warning

Three rest centres have been set up nearby for those who need to leave. It comes after a 57-year-old woman died after being swept into a river amid gale-force winds and flooding in the region.

Angus experienced the highest rainfall in the UK on Thursday, according to data from Sepa.

The Met Office revealed that Waterside Perth in East Grampian recorded 123.6mm over the previous 24 hours, followed by Invermark – which had 107mm.

More than 20,000 homes in Scotland lost power, according to Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), predominantly in Aberdeenshire and Angus.By 9pm, SSEN said it had restored services to almost 18,500 homes

In a statement today, Angus Council said rain was expected to fall well into Saturday and staff will not know the full extent of the damage until well into the weekend.

It said: “Angus is in the middle of a very serious emergency, following a very challenging night.

“Brechin defences were breached around 4am this morning. River levels are around 4.4m above normal levels and continuing to increase as Storm Babet persists. This is completely unprecedented and at these heights, gauges have become unreliable.

“The Met Office Red Weather warning remains in place until 12pm today with rain expected to fall well into Saturday. We expect conditions to deteriorate well into the weekend before we are able to determine the extent of the damage and begin recovery following Storm Babet.

“We ask that if you are in danger of flooding, please don’t leave it too late. If asked to evacuate, please do so, as hard as it is.

“Brechin, and increasingly other parts of Angus, are now only accessible via boat. Rescue crews are now dealing with over 100 calls from areas which were asked to evacuate yesterday evening."

The Met Office issued a red 'danger to life' weather warning for rain for Brechin which is due to last until noon today.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has also issued a severe weather warning for the Angus town that has been the eye of the storm over the last 24 hours.Efforts were made to convince residents of Brechin to evacuate with the coastguard and fire crews going door-to-door after some people refused to leave.

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