Sporting events cancelled as 'extreme' rainfall and flooding could pose 'danger to life'

By John Mercury October 7, 2023

Extreme rainfall and flooding is forecast for Scotland and northern parts of England – as train companies urge passengers not to travel on some routes.

The warning comes as northern and southern parts of the UK will have contrasting weather this weekend, with high temperatures and torrential rainfall affecting different areas.

While amber and yellow weather alerts for heavy rain are in place in large parts of Scotland and northern England, fine and dry conditions in southern and central England could see temperatures of 25C (77F) by Sunday afternoon.

Rail passengers are being warned of cancelled services and reduced train speeds, with two companies advising customers not to travel to and from Scotland.

Get the latest Sky News forecast here

Network Rail Scotland posted a picture on X, formerly Twitter, showing a flooded rail line in Bowling, West Dunbartonshire.

“A month’s worth of rain is expected today, likely leading to widespread flooding across Scotland,” an earlier warning said.

“With this in mind, we’re limiting train speeds on almost all routes to protect passengers, staff and the railway. Check your journey before travelling.”

A spectator struggles with his umbrella at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews
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A man struggles with his umbrella at St Andrews golf course

Play at the 2023 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews was abandoned
Image:
Play at a golf tournament had to be abandoned

Sporting events across Scotland have been hit by the heavy rain with the third round of the Alfred Dunhill Links golf championship at St Andrews being postponed until Sunday.

Dundee’s Scottish Premiership game with Ross County has also been called off due to a waterlogged pitch.

Dunfermline’s Championship clash with Arbroath was also postponed after failing a pitch inspection.

In League Two, Bonnyrigg Rose’s match against East Fife and Elgin City’s home game with Stenhousemuir have also fallen foul of the weather.

Cancelled services on Saturday include London North Eastern Railway (LNER) trains north of Newcastle as well as several routes across Scotland.

Avanti West Coast told customers there would be “no services north of Preston, and as a result other services across the network will be significantly delayed”.

TransPennine Express cited the conditions and told customers not to travel on any of their routes to Scotland.

“Due to heavy rainfall forecast tomorrow (Saturday) in parts of Scotland we’re advising customers do not travel on services to and from Scotland,” TransPennine Express said.

ScotRail warned there will be “significant disruption to services” and some of their routes would be suspended due to the conditions.

“Customers are advised that they should travel only when necessary, to expect delays, and to check their journey before travelling by keeping an eye on our website, app, or social media feeds for live updates,” ScotRail added.

The amber weather warning for heavy rain is in place in Scotland from the early hours of Saturday until Sunday morning, mostly affecting central regions.

While a yellow weather alert, warning of “heavy and persistent rain” is in place for much of Scotland until 6am on Sunday.

The Met Office said the yellow warning had been extended further southwest on Saturday.

It comes as authorities in Scotland issued fresh flood warnings ahead of the “major rainfall event”.

Between 150mm (six inches) and 180mm (eight inches) of rain is forecast for parts of the Highlands, Network Rail said.

Ruth Ellis, flood duty manager for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, said: “A major rainfall event is expected, bringing significant prolonged heavy rain throughout Saturday over the Southern Highlands and western Central Belt, with more heavy rain in the north on Sunday.

“As a result, we’re likely to see extensive river and surface water flooding impacts across those areas. Danger to life, widespread property flooding, flooding of roads and disruption to infrastructure is possible.

“We would advise people living and working in the affected areas to consider any steps they need to take now to be prepared for flooding impacts and consider whether their journey is necessary.”

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Network Rail issued a similar warning in a statement on its website, saying the West Highland Line, Highland Mainline and the lines to Helensburgh and Balloch would be “severely affected”.

Some lines will be closed, and others will have speed restrictions, the statement said, meaning a revised timetable will operate on most of the rest of the Scotland’s railways.

Scotland’s transport minister, Fiona Hyslop, said: “It’s important people plan their journeys before they set off.

“Motorists should make sure their routes are available, follow the travel advice from Police Scotland and drive in accordance with the conditions.

“If you are planning to travel by train, ferry or plane, please check with your operators to see if the conditions are having any impact on your services.”

Summer-like temperatures in the South

Temperatures in southeast England could reach 24C on Saturday and could climb as high as 25C on Sunday, with the Midlands and Wales also remaining sunny.

Oli Claydon, a spokesman for the Met Office, said the fine and settled conditions will continue into Sunday, though with slightly more cloud and hazy sunshine, with high temperatures more widespread across central and southern areas of England.

He continued: “For the south of the UK, we’ve got slightly ridged conditions and higher pressure bringing a more settled day with a fair amount of sunshine around.

“(It will be) dry for pretty much everyone in the southern half of the country and unseasonably warm temperatures as well.

“As we get into the very far north of England and into Scotland that’s where the difference starts, with some persistent and heavy rain across Scotland and mostly notably in western Scotland, where we’re likely to see the highest totals.”

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