Hawick on red alert as rain levels rise

Hawick's Flood Group.Hawick's Flood Group.
Hawick's Flood Group.
Hawick was on red alert last night as river levels once again threatened to create havoc, with the town being only partially defended by ongoing flood protection works.

The threat level was so bad, with constant wind and rain due overnight, that a joint alert message from Scottish Borders Council, Police Scotland and NHS Borders was sent to residents living in at-risk areas, asking them to consider plans for evacuation.

SEPA issued flood warnings for Hawick, Hawick-Monteviot, Newcastleton, the Ettrick Valley, Camptown-Jedburgh and Drumelzier-Dawyck, but given Hawick’s recent history with floods, the chilling message was sent out as a “precautionary measure”.The alert stated: “Information from SEPA indicates that river levels in the town will rise between 2am and 8am. As this is expected to happen early in the morning people in these areas may wish to consider taking action now by staying with family or friends.

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“To offer extra support to the community, Scottish Borders Council will be setting up a rest centre at Teviotdale Leisure Centre on Mansfield Road from 6am. This is when a severe flood warning could potentially be put in place. This rest centre will be open for anyone who needs a safe place to go and staff will be on hand to help.”A helpline – 01896 826549 – was been set up for anyone in the Borders facing flooding issues.

Thankfully, on this occasion, the riverbanks remained strong, but this morning, footbridges in the town remain closed.

Councillor Stuart Marshall had, however, called out the town’s Volunteer Flood Group.

He said: “We worked frantically throughout the night bolstering flood defences throughout the entire town and with the help of flood contractors McLaughlin & Harvey and the huge support from the council we deployed a massive amount of support to many vulnerable areas.

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“With a partially-built flood scheme and several areas in the town still exposed to flooding I must admit the past 48 hours has left me with little sleep and it only strengthens the case to keep pressing on at great speed to get this scheme finished and at the same time get our town fully protected.”

"Hawick flood group did a magnificent job once again and with no evacuations reported as of yet then I’m praying we have on this occasion escaped the worst.”