Updated: Floods hit Hawick and Newcastleton

Homes had to be evacuated and a couple rescued from a car as Storm Dennis battered the Borders last night, February 15.

Sunday, 16th February 2020, 12:47 pm
Updated Sunday, 16th February 2020, 1:38 pm
Hawick's Wilton Lodge Park under water yesterday.

Hawick and Newcastleton were among the parts of the region worst hit.

Firefighters from Carlisle and Longtown in Cumbria and Dumfries waded into the water to help take a couple to safety after their vehicle became wedged against a gate near Newcastleton after the Liddel Water burst its banks and floodwaters pushed it off a road.

The couple were taken to hospital as a precautionary measure but were later discharged.

A car caught in flooding at Newcastleton.

The village and Hawick were both hit by flooding, forcing several homes to be evacuated. Rest centres were set up at both Newcastleton health centre and Hawick’s Teviotdale Leisure Centre for the displaced residents.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s highest-level warning remained in force through the night for both the town and village after advising residents to leave their homes.

Due to improving conditions, that severe flood warning was lifted this morning, however.

A week on from working through the night last weekend, members of Hawick Volunteer Flood Group were once more called into action.

A spokesperson said: “In Hawick, flooding has affected a number of areas, with residents in more than a dozen streets being advised of the risk to their properties.

“A rest centre was opened at the town’s leisure centre at 6pm, with 14 people currently there. Many others will have stayed with family or friends.

“In Hawick, the river levels have been above those experienced last week, and also above the levels of Storm Desmond in 2015.

“In Newcastleton, the levels have been higher than that experienced in 2005.”

Three sections of rivers in the Borders reached the highest levels ever recorded by the agency – Hawick’s Slitrig Water, the Jed Water at Chesters and the Liddel Water at Newcastleton.

A Met Office amber warning for rain was in place until 8pm last night as heavy rainfall hit the region, leading, combined with melting snow, to those record highs.

Some river gauges showed a rise of over 1.5m in less than three hours during the late afternoon.

The agency issued 17 flood warnings yesterday, and three were upgraded to severe for the River Teviot and Slitrig Water in Hawick and River Liddel at Newcastleton early last night.

Newcastleton’s rest centre put up 15 people and Hawick’s hosted 22.

Scottish Borders Council staff, firefighters and the police, along with the flood group, were all deployed to help.

The B6399 Hawick-to-Newcastleton road remains closed, an alternative route being the B6357, as is the A699 at Kelso.

In Hawick, river levels were higher than last week’s and more than a dozen streets were under threat of flooding.

Repairs to the flood defences at Richmond Row in Jedburgh damaged last weekend held firm despite the river level there also peaking above the level recorded last Sunday.

The A68 was closed at the Shell garage in Jedburgh between 9.30pm last night and 1am today.

The Ettrick Valley was hit by flooding too, as was Peebles.

Council executive director Rob Dickson said: “Whilst the rainfall on Saturday was lower than last weekend, combined with the snow-melt and saturated ground, it led to a very rapid increase in river levels and significant surface water flooding.

“The council was able to deploy resources across the affected areas, providing sandbags and putting in place flood defences.

“We worked extremely closely with colleagues from Police Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and numerous resilient community groups to respond to the flooding.

“This has been an extremely challenging period for these communities, especially coming just a week after previous flooding events.

“We have worked throughout Saturday evening and overnight to support these communities, understand the extent of the damage caused and develop recovery plans.

“We are indebted to resilient community groups, Hawick Volunteer Flood Group and our partners in the emergency services for their assistance.

“The emergency planning bunker remains open at council headquarters to plan the recovery and clean-up operation to support residents and businesses.”

Five flood warnings remain in force in the Borders, as does a region-wide flood alert. They’re for Tweedbank to Floors Castle at Kelso, the Tweed in Peebles, Romannobridge to Lyne Station, Monteviot to Kelso and Kelso to Coldstream.

Warnings for the Yarrow Valley, the Tweed from Peebles to Yair Bridge, Newcastleton, Hawick to Monteviot, Jedburgh to Jedfoot Bridge, the Teviot and Slitrig Water in Hawick, Drumelzier to Dawyck, Dawyck to Lyne Ford, Camptown to Jedburgh, the Ettrick Valley and Lindean near Selkirk, have expired.