Storm Babet: Woman dead, town evacuated and 20,000 homes with no power as bad weather hits

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has three flood warnings in place as of 6pm, along with 14 flood alerts. Credit: PA

A woman was found dead in a Scottish river, whole towns are being evacuated and thousands of families have been left with no power has Storm Babet hits the UK.

A 57-year-old woman was swept into the Water of Lee, in Glen Esk, Angus, Police Scotland said.

Officers were called to the river at around 1.45pm and pulled a woman - who has been confirmed dead - from the water just over two hours later.

Police Scotland said “there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death."

A rare "danger to life" warning issued by the Met Office, came into force from 6pm on Thursday and will last until midday on Friday in Scotland.

ITV News Scotland Reporter Louise Scott provides an update on the conditions Storm Babet is delivering across Scotland

Fire crews and the coastguard are evacuating residents from Brechin, as crews from both services knock on residents’ doors advising them to leave the area.

Earlier, over 400 homes were told to evacuate by Angus Council, with residents told to bring sleeping bags, pillows and any required medication to rest centres which have been set up.

It comes as 20,000 households have been left without power due to the bad weather.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) said as of 8.45pm it had restored services to almost 18,500 homes and is working to reconnect 3,300 more properties which have been cut off.

Aberdeenshire and Angus are the main areas affected by power cuts.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has issued a warning river levels could reach an “unprecedented” 5m above normal levels during Storm Babet.

Severe flood warnings were expanded for the River Esk in Scotland, including into Aberdeenshire.

Angus Council wrote on X, formerly Twitter, on Thursday night: “There is a serious risk to life from excessive flooding. We are currently revisiting all properties identified as at risk to evacuate remaining residents who were reluctant to leave earlier.”

The local authority said schools will close before the storm rolls in, while ScotRail has announced mass train cancellations.

Credit: PA

What's the forecast?

The second named storm of the season arrived following a red weather warning being put out by the Met Office on Wednesday afternoon.

Across Aberdeenshire, the Met Office said there is a “danger to life from fast-flowing or deep floodwater” in both areas from 6pm onwards.

The storm threatens 70mph winds and one month's worth of rain to the UK's worst affected regions.

Met Office forecaster Greg Dewhurst said: “We could see 200 to 250 millimetres of rain falling within a day, which is well over a month’s worth of rainfall for eastern parts of Scotland."

It is an amount close to the highest ever 24-hour total for a "rainfall day".

It is the first red warning for rain issued in the UK since Storm Dennis in February 2020.

The UK is bracing for Storm Babet, which is set to sweep across the country from 6pm on Thursday. Credit: PA

The weather warnings in place;

  • Scotland is covered by a red warning for rain in parts of the east of Scotland, including Brechin, Forfar and Kirriemuir. It’s in force from 1800 on Thursday through to midday on Friday.

  • An amber weather warning covers most of the west of the UK from noon on Friday to 6am on Saturday due to persistent heavy rain. Risk level is still relatively high in this category, with amber warnings raising the prospect of injuries and danger to life, power cuts and damage to buildings and flooding.

  • Severe flood warnings were expanded for the River Esk in Scotland, including into Aberdeenshire. The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) added the villages of Logie Mill and Craigo to places at risk of flooding in Angus, as well as Brechin and nearby Finavon and Tannadice. The village of Marykirk, Aberdeenshire, was put on high alert.

  • Four flood warnings have been issued for parts of northern England and the Midlands, with Storm Babet set to sweep southwards on Friday.

  • Warnings that flooding is expected 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, warnings that flooding is possible, in effect across the rest of England.

A flooded street in Midleton, Co Cork. Credit: @realLiamMac

The warning follows a major cleanup operation that has begun in Ireland, where the storm has left several towns and villages swamped with floodwater.

The counties of Cork and Waterford on the southern coast were worst hit, with Cork County Council reporting almost a month's worth of rain fell in the space of 24 hours.

The army and civil defence units helped evacuate people in the town of Midleton, where more than 100 properties were flooded.

A number of businesses were damaged by the rapidly rising water levels and as many as 500 electricity customers still had no power on Thursday morning.

Clean-up is underway in Cork after Babet hit the county on Wednesday, flooding homes and high-streets. Credit: PA

Councillor Liam Quaide said the scenes of flooding in the town were “apocalyptic”.

“The scenes of devastation in Midleton (are) an ominous sign of what is ahead of us as a nation if we don’t double down on climate mitigation and adaptation," he said.

Large swathes of already-saturated Scotland, Northern Ireland, and northern and eastern England will also see strong winds and heavy rain on Thursday, with yellow severe weather warnings issued through to Saturday.

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