Scotland’s resilience responders are working hard to ensure minimal disruption from the latest weather front.
First Minister Alex Salmond chaired a Scottish Government Resilience Committee (SGoRR) meeting this afternoon to assess preparedness and response across Scotland to the impacts of the current and forecast weather conditions.
Sunday’s meeting involved a range of key partners including Met Office, SEPA, Transport Scotland and responder organisations.
Latest Met Office forecasts indicate some prolonged periods of rain in parts of the country and there are currently 10 flood alerts and 26 flood warnings in place.
SEPA have been monitoring and forecasting river levels across Scotland today as the overnight rainfall and melting snow across the Highlands adds additional water to river systems. There has been widespread flooding to low-lying agricultural land and roads in a number of areas across the west, central and southern parts of Scotland.
The main area of concern at present is Callander, where the River Teith remains high. There may be some flooding of roads, and potentially some property, as the level is expected to continue to rise. The peak should move through Callander by midnight.Stirling Council staff are currently on site in Callander monitoring the situation directly.
Rivers in the Dumfries and Galloway and, in particular, the Borders also remain high and we expect further rainfall in these areas overnight which could result in additional flood warnings being issued.
Elsewhere, although river levels are starting to peak in many areas, we can expect to see continued widespread flooding of low lying agricultural floodplains especially, but not exclusively, in the Forth, Tay and Earn catchments over the next 12 to 24 hours.
SSE engineering are methodically investigating a fault in the Strathpeffer area at present. Around 250 customers have been affected but people are being reconnected systematically as the fault location is being narrowed down. In addition, a generator has been dispatched to a care home affected to minimise disruption. Linesmen and engineers are in the field to repair the fault once identified and SSE fully expect everyone to be reconnected tonight.
Transport Scotland is also working round the clock with operating company BEAR Scotland to clear and reopen the A83 after a landslide at the Rest and Be Thankful at around midday.
Response teams with excavation diggers were quickly on the scene at the incident at Butterbridge and found40-60 tonnes of debris on the road, with around 40 tonnes in the adjacent ditch, more on the hillside and material still moving.
The teams also discovered a large boulder had blocked the channel and was acting as a ‘dam’, helping prevent immediate further slippage from the slope. However, this created the risk of a far bigger landslide if the boulder was left in place.
While one team continued to clear the debris from the road, specialist geotechnical engineers were quickly brought to the scene and an intensive design process ensued to identify a way to move the boulder safely while allowing work to carry on towards reopening the road as quickly and safely as possible.
A solution was identified and a painstaking programme is now underway, with teams set to work through the night to remove the boulder.
Commenting on the situation Transport Minister Keith Brown said:
“We have a strongly defined scheme in place for dealing with landslips, particularly at the Rest and Be Thankful, and I was encouraged to see this swing into place as soon as authorities were alerted to the incident.
“On this occasion the teams on the ground found a particularly difficult situation, but they have come up with what appears to be an effective solution and will now put this into action.
“We appreciate the importance of the A83 route and understand the inconvenience caused by diversions. I will be keeping in close contact with the crews on the ground to ensure the work is being done effectively, speedily and safely.”
Commenting after the SGoRR meeting, Environment and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse said:
“We have seen today a range of issues occurring at a local level and the response to each one has been swift.
“We continue to monitor the weather situation across the country closely and all our key stakeholders remain in a high state of readiness to deal with issues as the arise, and to respond quickly to any sudden change in conditions.”
Members of the public are being advised visit the Sportscotland Avalanche Information Service website -www.sais.gov.uk – for up-to-the-minute advice and information about outdoor conditions as well as checking local weather reports before heading to the hills.
Details of the Met Office weather warnings are available at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk
Information on SEPA flood updates are available at http://floodline.sepa.org.uk/floodupdates/
Live travel updates and diversionary routes are available viawww.trafficscotland.org and via Twitter at @TrafficScotland
Ferry services are available from Western Ferries with up to date information available at http://www.western-ferries.co.uk/
The Scottish Government’s Ready for Winter campaign, delivered in partnership with the British Red Cross, provides the public with a range of advice and information on preparing for winter weather. Further information is available at www.readyscotland.org