Storm takes its toll

Galloway residents have been warned to expect severe weather problems, with flooding and road closures.

Disruption has already been significant, with roads shut, ferry sailings cancelled and people evacuated from their homes.

Sandbags have been delivered by council workers to a number of coastal communities at risk, including the Isle of Whithorn, Port Logan and Port William.

Lorries heading for Cairnryan are being “stacked” on the A751 because of the withdrawal of services from the port.

A resident of Garlieston contacted the Gazette to say police had blocked off the harbour and were moving residents out. She added that “boats are tipping onto the pier”.

A report from Dumfries and Galloway Council says the is a “risk of coastal flooding … along the Solway coastline” and “some disruption to local roads due to fallen trees”.

The national Met Office forecast at 8.04am on Friday, January 3, said: “Persistent rain, which will be heavy at times, is pushing into the very west of Scotland at the moment. This is expected to spread to most parts by mid-morning.

“We have already seen winds gusting to around 60mph over western areas, and this will continue through the morning, perhaps reaching around 70mph at the most exposed locations. Inland in western areas, gust speeds are more generally expected to be around 50mph.

“The wind speeds are not exceptional, but combined with a surge and a high astronomical tide, there is the potential for coastal flooding impacts. The Solway Firth is considered to be at medium risk of flooding.

“Winds have the potential to continue to disrupt ferry traffic into this afternoon, and will ease through the evening and overnight.

“The persistent rain should ease through the late afternoon and evening, becoming confined to areas north of the central belt, though showers will follow into the evening, potentially wintery over high ground.

“Tomorrow is a much quieter and brighter day for most, though there is currently some uncertainty over an area of precipitation moving northwards into the Borders and eastern D&G in the afternoon. There is a risk that this precipitation may fall as snow over higher ground.

“There is likely to be no change to our current warnings for the next few hours.”

The D&G Council report said: “A high astronomical tide, combined with a large surge of up to 1.5m, is predicted for this afternoon (January 3). Coupled with this there will be strong south-westerly wind causing large wave and spray problems. Flooding of the Whitesands is expected to start around midday and peak at about 1.15pm.

“Car parks along the Whitesands, properties in Brewery Street to the White Hart, Friars Vennel Market entrance, Whitesands to Nith Street and Linden Grove (Dock Park) are all at risk. In addition, low lying roads and properties will also experience coastal flooding.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) also issued a flood alert for Dumfries and Galloway.

It said: “River levels remain high through the area. As catchments are saturated they will respond quickly to rainfall that is forecast to occur during Friday. Levels are not expected to reach the very high levels of concern that have been seen recently. Any further impacts are expected to be minor.”