STORM FRANK: Severe flooding ‘a risk to life’ in Peebles

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Police Scotland has tonight declared a major incident in Peebles, warning that “unprecedented” flooding in the town poses a “risk to life and property.”

A severe flood warning has been issued by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) for the River Tweed in Peebles homes have been evacuated as Storm Frank continues to batter the Borders.

The Burgh Hall is being used as a rest centre for residents affected in Peebles, where the Tweed is said to have reached its highest level since 1994.

Lower stretches of the main local rivers are yet to peak, and are not expected to do so until the early hours of the tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile, a number of roads are closed across the Borders tonight.

The A72 has been closed due to flooding from the Nest roundabout, just past Clovenfords, to Peebles. It means the only exit from Peebles is northwards.

Police Scotland is advising that people should not travel unless absolutely necessary in the central and western Borders and drivers should not, under any circumstances, ignore road closed signs.

Elsewhere, Hawick residents evacuated from their homes earlier today have now been advised it is safe to return to their homes after SEPA confirmed that the River Teviot reached its peaked at approximately 2pm. The town’s community recycling centre remains closed.

The Scottish Government’s resilience committee has met to assess the response to what environment minister Aileen McLeod described as a “very serious situation”.

She said: “The Scottish government’s resilience team is closely monitoring the situation which is still developing as persistent rain continues to fall onto saturated ground - and is expected to deteriorate further as river levels continue to rise, even after the rain has stopped.

“It is imperative that people look for and take heed of the latest warnings, information and advice from Sepa, Police Scotland and Traffic Scotland.

“In particular, consider whether you need to travel and take all possible precautions to stay safe, particularly in the worst-affected areas.”