'Danger to life' warning as Scotland braced for flooding and landslides

By John Mercury December 17, 2023

Heavy rain is expected to sweep across northwest Scotland causing potential floods and landslides, forecasters have said.

The Met Office has issued an amber and a yellow warning across much of the Highlands, Argyll and Bute, Stirling and Perth and Kinross until midnight on Sunday and 6am on Monday respectively.

It warned the most severely impacted areas could endure a month’s worth of rain in a day.

Power cuts are possible and driving conditions are likely to be difficult, with “fast flowing or deep floodwater likely, causing danger to life”, the agency has warned.

Read more: The weather where you are

Between 10 and 15cm of rain could fall in the region this weekend, potentially rising to 20cm in some west-facing upslopes.

Anyone travelling in the affected area has been asked to plan ahead before setting off.

Ferry operator CalMac announced on Twitter/X there are cancellations over the weekend, with potential disruption to other services.

One cancelled service is its Tarbert – Lochmaddy ferry.

Scotrail has also cancelled some services, and warned the public to take care when travelling as rainfall worsens.

Pic: Met Office
A large part of northwest Scotland is set to suffer heavy rain this weekend. Pic: Met Office

Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said: “Strong southwesterly winds will feed in a prolonged and heavy spell of rain.

“In some areas up to 200mm of rainfall could be recorded, but 100-150mm is more likely across the wider warning area.

“In addition to the usual risks associated with high rainfall, there is the potential for landslides across the south of the Highland region and Argyll.”

Chief Superintendent Hilary Sloan, the head of road policing in Scotland, asked people to “consider if your journey is really necessary during the bad weather or if it can be delayed until conditions improve”.

David Scott, the flood duty manager at the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, urged people not to drive into flood water.

He said: “30cm of fast-flowing water can move an average family-sized car, and just 15cm of fast-flowing water could be enough to knock you off your feet.”

Scottish transport minister Fiona Hyslop has asked people to use common sense.

She said: “Our trunk road teams will be out on the network to tackle any issues, but it’s important motorists also play their part and plan their journeys before setting off.

“Make sure your route is 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.”


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