Storm Babet Drops ‘Exceptional’ Amount of Rain on Scotland


Britain’s weather agency has once again issued a rare red warning in Scotland because of “exceptional” levels of rain, its second such warning in less than three days, as Storm Babet continues to wreak havoc over the region.

At least three people have died because of the storm. On Thursday, the police said, a 57-year-old woman was swept into a river in Angus, Scotland, and a 56-year-old man died after a tree hit his van in nearby Forfar.

A man in Shropshire, England, died on Friday morning after he was caught in fast-flowing floodwaters from a brook that breached a road, the West Mercia Police said.

“The rainfall we’ve been seeing is exceptional,” said Stephen Dixon, a spokesman for the weather agency, known as the Met Office. “It’s not normal autumn weather.” The storm is also bringing winds of up to 70 miles per hour, Mr. Dixon added.

More than 670 millimeters of rain — about 26.4 inches — have fallen already, according to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. That is not normal for this time of year. In 2022, Scotland received about 196 millimeters, or 7.7 inches, of rain in the entire month of October.

“There remains a danger to life,” the E.P.A. warned, adding that central and northeastern Scotland were experiencing “widespread impacts to transport and infrastructure and community-scale property flooding.”

The last time Britain issued its most extreme rain alert was in 2020 during Storm Dennis, which left at least three people dead and submerged streets in parts of England, Wales and Scotland. It was one of the most intense storms to batter the North Atlantic and raised questions about the country’s preparedness for intense flooding.

There has already been heavy flooding in parts of Scotland this month that filled rivers and saturated catchments, “which communities are still recovering from,” Pascal Lardet, a flood duty manager for the E.P.A., said in a statement.

“Some of the rainfall totals forecast for this week are higher than experienced over that weekend — albeit in some different areas,” he added.

The Met Office had urged residents in Scotland to prepare for even more torrential rain that could flood homes, cut off power and other essential services, and leave communities isolated for several days.

Network Rail, which oversees Britain’s railway infrastructure, had already closed several train routes and advised people living near railways in Scotland to secure tents, trampolines and garden furniture to prevent them from blowing onto tracks.

The storm is also affecting other parts of the United Kingdom, bringing rain to northern England and Northern Ireland on Friday. On Saturday, however, the focus would shift back to Scotland as more rain was on the way, Mr. Dixon said.

While it is difficult to attribute individual weather events directly to climate change, scientists say that a warming planet worsens extreme rainfall in many storms.

Eduardo Medina contributed reporting.




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