Storm Babet is turning its fury on England after battering much of Scotland, where 70mph winds and several inches of rainfall pushed rivers to breaking point and a 57-year-old woman was swept to her death.
More than an inch (25.4mm) of rain fell on parts of England overnight, and carnage unfolded on the roads as weather warnings covered most of the country with the exception of Cumbria, south Wales and the south-west.
Yellow warnings are in effect across the south-east, north Wales, the Midlands and the north, the entirety of Northern Ireland and eastern Scotland and the Highlands; amber ‘severe’ warnings are in place down the spine of England and on Scotland’s east coast.
A rare red ‘danger to life’ warning remains in place across parts of Angus and Perthshire, where residents have been told to prepare to evacuate as the River South Esk burst its banks overnight. Thousands of homes were without power last night.
Police confirmed that the body of a 57-year-old woman was found after she was swept into the Water of Lee in the Glen Esk valley of Angus on Thursday afternoon – officers say there were no suspicious circumstances.
LONDON: The driver of this Audi Q3 had a lucky escape after their car overturned on the North Circular late on Thursday. The Met Police said he avoided serious injury
BRENT: A delivery van ploughs through deep standing water in north London on Friday after more than an inch of rain fell on the capital overnight
The UK is awash with weather warnings on Friday – including a rare red weather warning covering Angus, Perthshire and Dundee on Scotland’s east coast
Saturday will see some of the alerts wound down – with amber ‘severe’ warnings remaining in place down the spine of England and on Scotland’s east coast
BRENT: An electric bus carrying early morning commuters braves wheel-deep water on Friday
BRENT: A Smart car ploughs through standing water in north London on Friday morning after more than an inch of rain fell on the capital overnight
Four flood warnings have been issued by the Environment Agency’s Floodline service in Sandsend, North Yorkshire; Bridlington, East Yorkshire; the Tyne estuary and in areas surrounding the River Maun in Nottinghamshire.
The agency also has 79 flood alerts in effect across the rest of England. The Met Office has also issued more than a dozen warnings for heavy rain and high winds covering most of Britain.
In London, a driver had a lucky escape on Thursday night after their white Audi Q3 overturned on the North Circular; the Met Police said they escaped serious injury.
Pictures from the capital on Friday morning showed commuters battling deep puddles and standing water.
Trunk roads across the country have also been closed or diverted amid dangerous weather conditions.
National Highways said the A15 Humber Bridge between North Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire is closed in both directions to “high-sided and vulnerable vehicles” due to strong winds.
Several sections of major Scottish roads are closed due to Storm Babet, Traffic Scotland said, including parts of the A85, A9 and A90 across Tayside and Aberdeenshire, as well as the A7 in Langholm, Dumfries and Galloway, due to a fallen tree.
Motorists have been advised to take care crossing bridges including the Erskine Bridge, Queensferry Crossing and the Skye Bridge.
ScotRail said train services remain suspended on several routes in north and north-east Scotland across Aberdeen, Perthshire and Fife – affecting some Glasgow and Edinburgh routes.
Severe flood warnings have been expanded for the River Esk in Scotland, including into Aberdeenshire; authorities have warned it could burst its banks.
Fire crews and the coastguard began evacuating residents from the town of Brechin, Angus on Thursday night – knocking on residents’ doors advising them to leave the area.
There are concerns that the ‘worst is yet to come’, as the slow moving storm works its way north, bringing near record amounts of precipitation with it in Scotland and parts of northern England.
Scotland’s First Minister, Humza Yousaf – who lives in Dundee, just south of Angus – has warned locals to take the advice of local authorities and evacuate if asked.
Sharing an update from Angus Council on X, formerly Twitter, Mr Yousaf wrote: ‘I cannot stress how dangerous condition are in Brechin in particular. Listen to the advice… it is for your own safety. Situation will worsen as rainfall continues.’
The Met Office said some communities could be cut off for several days by severe flooding, while the British Geological Survey has warned the storm could also cause landslides in Scotland.
Gusts in excess of 60mph are likely on Friday, with particularly poor conditions on immediate coastlines with large waves adding to the list of hazards.
GREENWICH: A car makes a splash as it tries to navigate a waterlogged road in south-east London early on Friday morning
NEWCASTLE: Students braved the weather for the Toon’s much loved Sports Night
NEWCASTLE: Rain wasn’t going to stop these students from enjoying a night on the town on Thursday – a yellow warning is in place on the east coast today
LEEDS: A reveller looks as though she regrets her decision to go out amid heavy rainfall in the north of England early on Friday
BRECHIN: Emergency services go door-to-door as they evacuate people before flooding hits the town
STONEHAVEN: Waves crash over the sea wall in the harbour on Thursday as Storm Babet batters the country
This weather chart suggests that more than four inches of rain is set to fall between Friday and midnight on Sunday in some areas
Scottish coastguard seen going door to door in Brechin as town is evacuated due to extreme weather conditions
BRECHIN: Members of the coastguard attempt to evacuate people from their homes
The Met Office says the highest amount of rainfall recorded since the start of yesterday has been 164mm (6.4in) at Waterside Perth in Scotland.
But this is still way off the record, after some 238mm of rain was measured at Sloy Main Adit in Argyll & Bute between 9am on January 17, 1974 and 9am the following day.
This is the highest total on record in Scotland for what the Met Office calls a ‘rainfall day’: the 24 hours from 9am to 9am.
The highest equivalent total recorded in England is 279mm, on July 18, 1955 at Martinstown in Dorset, while the highest in Wales is 211mm, on November 11, 1929 at Lluest Wen Reservoir in Mid Glamorgan.
The highest in Northern Ireland is 159mm, recorded on October 31, 1968 at Tollymore Forest in County Down.
The highest total for any 24-hour period in the UK is 341.4mm, recorded from 6pm December 4, 2015 to 6pm the following day at Honister Pass in Cumbria.
Dramatic photos and video show raging torrents in highland areas of Scotland, giving people in low-lying areas a glimpse of what could be coming their way.
Angus Council warned on Thursday night that there was a ‘risk to life’ and urged people to leave if told to evacuate amid potential devastation in Brechin.
It said: ‘The latest modelling from @SEPA is that river levels could reach an unprecedented 5m about normal levels. The Brechin flood defences are designed to deal with river levels of 3.8m.
‘This means that there is a serious risk to life from excessive flooding. Building on work undertaken already we are, currently revisiting all properties identified as at risk to evacuate remaining residents who were reluctant to leave earlier.
‘We are expecting peak levels at around 01:00 and again 08:00 but if the modelling is correct, the river will overtop long before that peak so the time to leave is NOW.’
Angus Council, responsible for a large area in the east of Scotland north of Dundee, said residents in 335 homes in Brechin and a further 87 homes in Tannadice and Finavon would be asked to evacuate due to risk of severe flooding.
Deputy First Minister Shona Robison has said the ‘worst impacts are yet to come’ with 10,000 homes across Britain being without power in addition to the evacuations in Scotland.
One river in Perth and Kinross was found to have tripled in height to more than four feet in the space of just 12 hours.
STONEHAVEN, SCOTLAND: The waves crash against the harbour amid a rare red weather alert in Scotland
PERTHSHIRE: Cars avoid debris from a tree which was snapped in half by high winds in the storm
HAMPSHIRE: People braving the weather at Southsea as Storm Babet arrived on Thursday
Police and the coastguard went door to door checking on residents in Brechin, Scotland late on Thursday evening
Hundreds of people were evacuated in Brechin after torrential downpours posed a ‘danger to life’ with the Met Office issuing a severe red weather warning
Police were forced to close off a street in Brechin, Angus, after exceptional rainfall threatened to breach the town’s flood defences.
River Street, next to the South River Esk, was fully blocked by a police patrol vehicle as well as signposts advising there is no entry onto the street, as members of the coastguard made door-to-door enquiries to check on residents’ safety.
Heavy showers also battered parts of England and Wales on Thursday night, causing travel disruption. Amber warnings are in place for northern England, the Midlands and Wales.
The rain arrived in southeast England overnight, spreading to most areas by dawn. The unsettled weather is set to remain today and through to the weekend, with strong winds reaching 80mph.
Ms Robison said: ‘Protecting the public is our immediate priority and we are co-ordinating a national effort to ensure that people are safe.
‘The red warning has been expanded to cover further parts of Scotland and we expect weather conditions to deteriorate seriously overnight. Our message is clear – if you live in the areas covered by the red warning, please stay at home and do not travel, unless advised to relocate to a rest centre.
‘With weather warnings in place for much of the country, I would urge everyone to be vigilant and to exercise extreme caution. No matter where you live, please make sure you stay up to date with conditions affecting your area.
‘If you need to travel in a yellow warning area then make sure you can travel safely and that roads and services are not impacted.
‘We are working with partners across the country, including emergency services, the voluntary sector and energy companies, to make sure that we mitigate disruption as much as possible.
‘However, we are clear that there will be considerable disruption and we expect to launch a major clean-up operation as we move into the weekend.’
It came as the Met Office issued an extremely rare ‘danger to life’ red warning from 6pm on Thursday through to midday on Friday with over a month’s worth of rainfall expected in the worst-affected regions.
Forecasters had initially warned that the east of Scotland, including Brechin, Forfar and Kirriemuir, could be hit hardest with ‘exceptionally heavy and persistent rain’. It has since been spread wider to include parts of Dundee and western Tayside.
SCOTLAND: A car drives past a fallen tree in Brechin as Storm Babet hits the town
The graphic shows where the worst impacted areas of Scotland will be as Storm Babet bears down on the UK
The Met Office has updated its red weather warning for rain, which will now cover a wider area of Scotland, bringing ‘exceptionally heavy and persistent rain’
The Met Office has also issued a new amber warning for parts of northern England, the Midlands and Wales as Storm Babet batters the UK
SOUTH SHIELDS, TYNE AND WEAR: Enormous waves crash onto South Shields pier in the North East this morning at sunrise
STONEHAVEN, SCOTLAND: People stand on the harbour as waves crash around them
MIDLETON, CORK: A person wades through the waters of a the knee-deep flooded street
CAMBRIDGE: Tourists shelter under umbrellas to try and avoid getting a soaking as they go for a punt in a downpour on the River Cam
BRECHIN: The Scottish town is being evacuated as Storm Babet rips through Britain. Here, a tree has fallen down on a road in the town
ESSEX: A vehicle is left completely submerged in a ford as heavy rain caused roads to flood
Angus Council said that anyone affected by the storm should evacuate, adding that they would go door to door and spread the message. The council told locals that it only has a limited supply of sandbags to help protect buildings.
It comes despite a £16.3million flood prevention scheme in Brechin being completed seven years ago. The project, hailed as a protection measure ‘for generations to come’, featured flood walls, embankments and upgrades to the drainage system.
Emergency rest centres are also being set up and residents have been asked to bring their own sleeping bags, supplies and medication.
The authority had already confirmed that schools and early years centres would close at lunchtime on Thursday – and will remain shut on Friday.
The last red warning anywhere in the UK for rain was in February 2022 for Storm Eunice.
The Met Office has also issued a new amber warning for parts of northern England, the Midlands and Wales as Storm Babet sparks chaos in the UK. Workmen have been pictured putting flood defences up as Britain prepares for a deluge of rain.
The warning is in place from noon on Friday to 6am on Saturday due to persistent heavy rain. Homes and businesses are likely to be flooded and some communities could be cut off by impacted roads.
Between 40 and 60mm of rain is likely, with the potential for between 80 and 120mm on higher ground, the Met Office said.
It comes as Storm Babet has caused mayhem on Thursday with trains cancelled, roads blocked and Britons warned to stay at home as gale force winds and torrential rain hit the UK.
The second named storm of the season hammered Ireland yesterday as dozens of cars were submerged and washed away, while businesses, supermarkets and hospitals fell victim to the destructive floods.
But Storm Babet, named after a woman from the Netherlands who said she had been born during a gale, is now starting to wreak havoc in Britain. Some schools will close as parts of Scotland prepare for one third of their annual rainfall in just one day today.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has said they are expecting ‘extensive river and surface water flooding’ as Storm Babet hits.
Angus Council said that anyone affected by the storm in Brechin, Angus, should evacuate
A resident puts sand bags outside his door as he leaves his house on River Street in Brechin, Scotland, with people living in the town being told to evacuate
A rainbow appears over the Bibby Stockholm in Portland Port with ominous grey skies above
PERTH: Flood barriers are installed on Queen’s Bridge as heavy rain and wind batters the city
DORSET: Environment Agency staff repair concrete wave barriers installed along parts of the seafront in Swanage
EDZELL: A dog walker and her dog at a flood defence barrier erected on Church street in the Scottish village
BRECHIN: Some 360 homes in the Scottish town will be evacuated. Here, Local resident Christopher McGuire places sand bags at houses as Storm Babet closes in
LONDON: Met Office issues rare ‘danger to life’ warning as Britain braces for Storm Babet today
COUNTY CORK: Britain is bracing itself for Storm Babet after devastating floods sparked chaos in Midleton, Cork, including at this Supervalu supermarket
SEAHAM, COUNTY DURHAM: Storm Babet batters the north east coast of England this morning as waves as big as 20ft are pictured battering Seaham light house
GLOUCESTER: Motorists have been warned to drive safely following a bad crash on the M5
DORSET: Shocked locals dodge the sea spray as big waves were seen crashing into the coast at Mudeford Quay
LONDON: Commuters were seen struggling with their umbrellas as the storm threatens to cause chaos in England
COUNTY CORK: This is the moment that a car is washed away by biblical floods in Ireland – as Britain braces for over a month’s worth of rain and 70mph gale force winds today
‘Take action now to protect yourself and your property. Hazards can be hidden, so please don’t walk or drive into flood water. Remember that not only is flood water likely to be dirty, 30 cm of fast flowing water can move an average family sized car, and just 15 cm of fast flowing water could be enough to knock you off your feet.’
Scottish Water warned of the risk of sewer flooding and said staff are on standby. The organisation said sewer flooding reports are expected to increase as drainage systems become overwhelmed by the extreme rainfall.
John Griffen, Scottish Water’s water operations general manager said: ‘We have activated contingency plans including increasing the numbers of staff and contractors on standby to support customers experiencing sewer flooding, and protect our critical infrastructure across water and waste water services.
‘Plans are in place for known sewer flooding hotspots with tankers on-site, and we encourage any customer experiencing sewer flooding to report it as soon as possible…’
Mass train cancellations have been imposed by ScotRail, expected to last from today until Saturday with trains suspended in North and North East Scotland while the South and West will also be hit by delays today.
Services have been suspended between Aberdeen and Elgin; Edinburgh and Aberdeen via Fife; and Perth and Aberdeen via Dundee.
Stagecoach has also warned bus passengers of disruption in eastern Scotland today. It said the X7 bus route from Aberdeen to Perth will be impacted by the closure of Lower Northwater Bridge in Aberdeenshire. Highland Council has announced that all its bus services will be suspended until further notice too.
The Royal Family’s Balmoral castle and estate has been closed to the public today and tomorrow due to the weather in Aberdeenshire. All facilities at Cairngorm Mountain in Aviemore have also been closed today due to the storm.