Towns feared the worst during Thursday floods

It’s the morning after the night before for residents in Hawick and Peebles, as their respective rivers threatened homesteads, bloated by incessant rainfall.

Friday, 29th October 2021, 11:41 am
The river Teviot yesterday, with the Sonia's Bistro building, which was destroyed in the last flood, in the background. Photo: Bill McBurnie.

In Hawick, some riverside residents were evacuated as a precautionary measure, and relocated to a rest centre in Teviotdale Leisure Centre.

However, as the Teviot receded, having reached a peak of 2.9m, the major incident declared earlier in the day was stood down, and residents who had been displaced by the emergency teams were advised it was safe to return to their homes, with Scottish Borders Council staff on hand to assist where required.

Some flooding was recorded at Hawick Rugby Club – often the first victim of rising river levels – however, thankfully, no residential properties were affected

Anyone requiring further assistance can still call the out-of-hours helpline on 01896 752111.

As a result of the falling levels, the council’s Emergency Planning Centre has now been stood down.

A council spokesperson said: “This event was managed through close work between Scottish Borders Council, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Scottish Ambulance Service and NHS Borders.

“All of the agencies involved would like to take this opportunity to place on record sincere thanks to the general public for their cooperation throughout this period.

“In addition, thanks is given to all members of staff from across the various agencies, local community resilience groups, councillors and wider community groups, who have again come together to ensure our response protected and supported communities at this most difficult time.”

Yesterday, we told of how the Hawick Flood Group had worked through Wednesday night, bolstering defences throughout the town and ensuring previously flooded homes had a decent chance of suffering the same fate.

In Peebles, the banks of both the Cuddy and the Tweed succumbed to the onslaught, and although levels are now dropping there, too, the rain continues to fall and the emergency teams there remain vigilant.

Local councillor Robin Tatler said: “I’m not aware of any homes being flooded or residents evacuated although both the Cuddy and Tweed burst their banks and I am sure a number of properties were affected.

"Thanks to the excellent response by volunteers from Peebles Resilient Community Group, Scottish Borders Council workers and the police, local residents were helped with putting in place flood gates and sandbags to protect their properties.

"Everyone in Peebles is really grateful for the excellent response and vigilance put in by volunteers and workers during the course of what was a very challenging 24 hours.

"Although on this occasion Peebles has been relatively unscathed we need to continue to keep an eye on the Tweed over the coming days as there is more rain forecast.

"Longer term I support the proposals currently under consideration for some form of flood protection scheme in Peebles as it is likely we will see more high river events in the future, and we have seen how flood protection is already making a huge difference in Hawick and other Borders towns.”

In Selkirk, where the flood protection works have been completed, the Ettrick was very swollen, but it appears the defences have once again done their job.