As the UK was hit by the remnants of Hurricane Bertha, large areas of the country, particularly the north-east, battled strong winds and torrential rain. Hundreds of properties in Aberdeenshire were evacuated, while Shetland experienced 132mm of rain in a 48 hour period – almost double the average rainfall for the whole month of August. In Elgin 200 homes were evacuated over fears the River Lossie would burst its banks where the £86m flood alleviation scheme has not yet been completed.
At the peak of the event, there were over 40 flood warnings in place in Scotland with surface flooding causing severe disruption to road and rail transport. In other parts of the country Cardiff experienced its total monthly rainfall for August in less than 12 hours and fire crews were assisted by the Red Cross in evacuating residents in Cardiff and Newport whose homes were affected by surface water flooding.
Eight flood alerts were issued for stretches of the coastline in Somerset, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and north Wales. Sandbags were deployed along the banks of the river Parrett in Somerset with many homes and businesses also flooded in Kent and Norfolk.
In a response the Scottish Government announced that flooded areas will be given financial assistance to aid recovery. Local authorities affected by the severe weather can apply for assistance from the Bellwin Scheme - a discretionary fund, which exists to give special financial assistance to local authorities to assist with the immediate and unforeseen costs in dealing with the aftermath of emergency incidents.
Finance Secretary John Swinney said:
“We know, and I have seen for myself, just how devastating the effects of flooding can be for our communities…..As the full impact on local communities continues to be assessed, we stand ready to provide urgent assistance and the Scottish Government will consider applications from local authorities for emergency funding through the Bellwin Scheme.”