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Flood alerts and weather warnings as more heavy rain and winds forecast

TRANSPORT delays are expected as flood alerts and severe weather warnings remain in place across Scotland.

Flooding in Musselburgh, East Lothian, after the River Esk burst its banksPhotograph: Steve Cox
Flooding in Musselburgh, East Lothian, after the River Esk burst its banksPhotograph: Steve Cox

The Scottish Government is warning the public to be vigilant as winds of up to 50mph and heavy rain continue to batter the country.

Currently, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has 16 flood alerts and 22 flood warnings in place north of the Border, including the Firth of Forth and the Tay.

Severe ice warnings have been issued for roads in Scotland, North Wales and north-west England.

Forecasters also warned of heavy rainfall today in parts of Scotland, southern England, south-east Wales and Northern Ireland, with winds reaching up to 50mph.

This will be the last strike of the recent severe weather, as the storms that have battered the country tail off, although coastal flood warnings for England remain in place.

A Scottish Government spokesman said officials are monitoring long and short-term weather ­forecasts, with the Scottish Government resilience team (SGoR) holding 12 meetings since Christmas Eve.

He added: "In the event of a risk being identified, SGoR - which includes ministers, Scottish Government officials and Scottish Government communications - co-ordinates work with Transport Scotland, Sepa, and responder agencies such as Police Scotland, local authorities and utility companies. This is to ensure preparations are made and that the response involves all partners from the public, private and voluntary sectors.

"Since Christmas Eve, there have been 12 such resilience meetings, several of which have been chaired by the First Minister.

"Further regular meetings are held where the most up-to-date information is shared and decisions are made to provide additional resources as and when required."

Persistent storms have caused travel disruption and property damage across much of the UK in recent days. However, forecasters say the worst of the weather will soon be over with Helen Chivers, head of news at the Met Office, saying today "might be the last really big storm for a little while".

Caledonian MacBrayne ferries are on amber alert due to high winds, and services could be cancelled at short notice if conditions worsen.

In Scotland, "be aware" weather warnings have been issued for the Strathclyde, Tayside, Fife, south-west Scotland, Lothian & Borders and central regions.

Some unsettled weather is predicted for the beginning of the week, but conditions are to be relatively calm in comparison with the 75mph gusts that swept the UK on Friday, with more than 200 homes flooded as storms battered the country's coastline.

The south-west of Scotland was one of the worst-hit areas for flooding, having suffered similar problems earlier in the week.

Dumfries & Galloway Council said numerous coastal properties had been flooded and three families evacuated from the Queensberry Bay Caravan Park in Powfoot.

Homes in the Isle of Whithorn, Portpatrick, Garlieston, Kirkcudbright, Annan, Carsethorn, Powfoot and Port William had been affected.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse praised the efforts of emergency staff during the severe weather.

He said: "Scotland's agencies are continuing to work hard to provide a co-ordinated response to these difficult conditions and I'd like to pay tribute to the dedicated efforts of everyone involved.

"After the excellent efforts of the responders on the west coast, now services across the east are ready to react swiftly to minimise the impact of flooding."

People who need to travel today are being encouraged to plan their journey carefully and take heed of any advice.

Transport Minister Keith Brown added: "The advice, as always, is to prepare in advance for any travel. People should drive to the conditions, adhere to police advice and allow extra time for any journeys they are planning to make.

"I would urge anyone making a journey to check relevant websites such as Traffic Scotland for up to date travel information."

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