Driver dies as Storm Babet batters large parts of UK

A major search is under way after reports of a man trapped in a vehicle in floodwater as Storm Babet batters large parts of the UK.

Police Scotland said the alarm was raised at 3am on Friday near the village of Marykirk in Aberdeenshire.

“Multi-agency searches are ongoing and the public are asked to avoid the area for their safety,” a force spokesperson said.

It comes after a woman died in Scotland when she was swept into a river amid gale-force winds and severe flooding.

A rare red weather alert issued by the Met Office, warning of a “danger to life from fast flowing or deep floodwater” in parts of Scotland, remains in force until midday on Friday.

It has been expanded to include Dundee, Perth and Kinross, as well as Angus and Aberdeenshire, where 20ft waves have been spotted on the coastline.

Storm Babet latest: ‘Spectacular 20ft waves’ smash coastline

Waves at Stonehaven Harbour

The Met Office said some communities could be cut off for several days by severe flooding, while the British Geological Survey has warned the storm could also cause landslides in Scotland.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has 12 flood alerts and 16 flood warnings in place, with the threat of “unprecedented” levels of rainfall in the northeast of Scotland.

It has warned rivers could rise by as much as five metres, in what has been described as an “extraordinary” weather event.

SEPA flood duty manager Pascal Lardet said: “There is exceptional rainfall forecast for parts of Scotland over the next 24 hours, and this will lead to significant flooding from both surface water and rivers.”

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Bridge submerged in Scotland

The body of a 57-year-old woman has been recovered after she was swept into the Water of Lee, a river in the eastern area of Angus on Thursday.

Officials have ordered the evacuation of 400 homes in and around the town of Brechin.

This image shows a road before the River Esk burst its banks in Brechin – with the photo below showing the impact of the flooding

Angus Council said schools would be shut on Friday to “ensure the safety of children, young people, parents, and school staff”.

Around 20,000 properties were hit by power cuts, although Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) said electricity had been restored to almost 18,500 homes.

Angus experienced the highest rainfall in the UK on Thursday, according to data from SEPA. The Met Office revealed that Waterside Perth in East Grampian recorded 164mm over the previous 24 hours, followed by Invermark – which had 153mm.

Warnings have ‘come to fruition’

“Torrential and ferocious” conditions have led to “12 hours of destruction”, said Sky’s Scotland correspondent Connor Gillies.

Flood defences of the River Esk in Brechin have been “completely and utterly submerged”, he said.

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Storm Babet causes sea of foam

The warnings have “come to fruition” and “lives are at risk still” for several more hours, said Gillies.

“Many people will now be picking up the pieces after a really dangerous set of circumstances,” he said.

Traffic Scotland said several sections of major Scottish roads are closed too, including the A85 at Huntingtower near Perth and A90 between Myrekirk and Swallow Roundabouts due to flooding.

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Babet: Waves batter lighthouse

‘Extraordinary’ weather event

More disruption is expected elsewhere across the UK, with amber warnings for wind and rain issued for parts of northern England, the Midlands and northern Wales from noon on Friday to 6am on Saturday.

The Environment Agency has issued 42 flood warnings – in areas where flooding is expected – and 142 flood alerts, where flooding is possible.

Heron Rise in Dundee

Yellow and amber wind warnings have been issued for eastern parts of Scotland and along the east coast of England until the weekend, the Met Office said.

Gusts in excess of 60mph are likely on Friday, with particularly poor conditions on immediate coastlines with large waves adding to the list of hazards.

Red, amber and yellow weather warnings are in place for rain and wind. Pic: Met Office

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A yellow warning for Northern Ireland is also in place from 3am on Friday to 9am on Saturday.

Members of the Irish Defence Forces were deployed in the town of Midleton, Co Cork, in the south of Ireland, where more than 100 properties were flooded.

Cork County Council said more than a month’s worth of rain had fallen in the space of 24 hours, leading to unprecedented flooding, saturated land and high river levels across the county.

The storm is an “extraordinary” weather event created by a number of interacting conditions, said Hannah Cloke, professor of hydrology at the University of Reading.

The jet stream has been squeezed into a “weird position”, partly due to a typhoon that hit Japan last week, she said.