Evacuations advised in the Borders as Storm Dennis sweeps Scotland

People were advised to evacuate from their homes in the Scottish Borders as Storm Dennis swept the country on Saturday.

Southern parts of Scotland were under an amber warning for rain from midday to 8pm on Saturday, with a yellow wind and rain warning also in place to 9pm.

Due to the conditions, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has issued the advice for residents in Hawick and are working in conjunction with a Scottish Government resilience team.

Sepa flood duty manager Mark McLaughlin said: “Severe Flood Warnings for areas in the Scottish Borders have been issued tonight as we continue to see rivers respond to the impacts of Storm Dennis.

“These warnings mean that extensive flooding is expected to properties and businesses with many roads impassable. Some evacuations have been advised.

“The Severe Flood Warnings have been issued for Teviot and Slitrig at Hawick and Newcastleton. We advise people to stay away from flood water and to not take unnecessary risks.

“Sandbags are available from local authority staff responding on site in the Hawick Teviot and Hawick Slitrig areas and are available from the rest centre at the community centre in Newscastleton.

“If you are affected or concerned about flooding please contact the emergency services.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinny was among MSPs expressing concerns in the “very difficult conditions” with local representative Paul Wheelhouse adding: “This seems like it is pretty bad. Too early to say just how bad.”

It is the second time in a week storm conditions have hit the country with Hawick suffering particular damage.

A guest house and bistro collapsed into the River Teviot last Sunday, though no-one was injured.

Footage posted on social media showed a wall of the Bridge House Guest House and Sonia’s Bistro building collapsing into the fast-flowing River Teviot.

Earlier on Saturday evening, ScotRail advised people in the west of Scotland not to travel because of the weather which had caused disruption on a number of lines.

An online statement said: “#StormDennis We’re advising customers in the West of Scotland NOT TO TRAVEL due to the severe disruption.

“Unused tickets will be refunded in full at the point of purchase.”

Rail tickets were also being accepted by First Bus in some areas as an alternative means of travel.

The weather led to replacement buses in areas including between Perth and Inverness, Dumbarton and Helensburgh, and Kilwinning and Largs/Ardrossan Harbour.

Flooding at Langbank also meant services between Glasgow Central, Gourock and Wemyss Bay were suspended on Saturday afternoon.

Network Rail also confirmed water levels had breached the safety limit at Inver on the Highland Mainline with “no option but to close the line for safety reasons until it recedes and safety checks are carried out”.

Another post added: “Our engineer has advised that the line can’t reopen until a full inspection has been carried out. This is unlikely to take place until tomorrow morning.”

The A9 was also affected by the conditions with pictures and videos appearing on social media showing flooding from nearby fields.

Police Scotland tweeted: “We’re aware of significant flooding on the A9 between Auchterarder and Greenloaning.

“We are currently assessing the situation with partners and motorists are urged to avoid the area.”

A yellow wind warning is in place for all of Scotland from 10am on Sunday until 12pm on Monday, with gusts of up to 70mph expected at times.

However according to the BBC, a gust of 77mph was recorded in South Uist, in the Outer Hebrides, on Saturday morning.

Ferry firm CalMac have already cancelled planned Sunday sailings between Fionnphort and Iona due to the warnings with other services between Ullapool and Stornoway, Oban and Castlebay, Mallaig to Lochboisdale and Oban to Lochboisdale also called off in advance.

Two Scottish Premiership matches were called off, with Rangers v Livingston and Motherwell v St Mirren falling foul of the conditions along with Ayr United v Greenock Morton in the Championship.

However, the game in Glasgow has been rescheduled for Sunday despite warnings remaining in place – and Livingston bosses calling for the game to be played on Monday night which was rejected by the SPFL.

Elsewhere, a deployment of 75 soldiers from the 4th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland, was supporting the Environment Agency’s efforts in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, helping to prepare defences and assist with warning residents or potential rescues if necessary.