Homes evacuated by rescue teams as river bursts banks

Evacuations Ordered After Scottish River Bursts It Banks

Dozens of homes have been evacuated in Aberdeenshire after the River Don burst its banks amid continued heavy rain.

Teams from the Scottish Fire Service and the coastguard mounted an operation to rescue residents, some reported to be elderly, from 38 properties in Port Elphinstone, near Inverurie, as the swollen Don sent floodwaters racing down the streets.

A further 18 homes were evacuated from the Bruce Crescent and Meadows areas of Ellon as the River Ythan rose through the night.

People were put up in rest centres while a number of local hotels also opened their doors to flooding victims free of charge.

Police Scotland declared a "major incident" and also advised some people living in parts of Aberdeen on the banks of the Don to leave their homes as the river threatened to pour into the city.

Chief Superintendent Campbell Thomson said: "Over the past 24 to 48 hours, and indeed the past week, we have responded to a number of flooding incidents and co-ordinated the multi-agency response to the adverse weather.

"A major incident was declared due to the severity of the warnings in place and the potential for serious impact on communities.

"Our focus over the past 36 hours has been the Donside area, Keith to Huntly, Turriff, Inverurie, Kintore, Ellon and into Aberdeen including Riverside Drive and the Grandholm area. Additionally, we continue to support the recovery effort in Deeside, specifically in the Ballater and Braemar area, following the impact of Storm Frank."

Flights at Aberdeen Airport have been restricted to small aircraft after ''unprecedented rainfall'' damaged a section of the runway.

Management said around 20 people slept in the airport terminal on Thursday night as cancellations mounted and advised passengers to check with their airline before travelling to the airport.

Trains between Aberdeen and Dundee have also been cancelled due to the flooding.

There has been little respite for the north east since New Year when Storm Frank brought flooding to villages around the River Dee.

A Met Office amber warning for heavy rain in the area remains until this morning.

A yellow warning for snow and ice is also in place for much of Scotland, Northern Ireland, north west and north east England.

Richard Brown, head of hydrology for the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa), said water levels around the River Don were "pretty exceptional".

He told BBC Scotland: "We have had a gauging station up at Alford for the last 42 years and it has exceeded anything we have ever recorded."

NHS Grampian have raised concerns over private water supplies in Aberdeenshire and urged residents to drink bottled water.

A spokesman said: "If a private well or spring has been covered by floodwater, proceed with caution and contact Aberdeenshire Council for advice.

"While waiting for an answer or if you are in doubt, assume the water is unsafe to drink and source bottled water."

There was some relief during the flooding as missing camper Terence Kilbride, believed to have been swept away by flood waters from the Dee, was found by police safe and well.

Scotland's Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: "The impact of this latest round of flooding is causing transport difficulties and putting properties at risk of flooding.

"The Scottish Government's resilience committee is monitoring the situation very closely and we have discussed the unfolding events and work to mitigate the impacts and ensure the safety of people in local communities."