Hundreds of homes in a flood-risk Scottish town are being evacuated.
A major incident has been declared in Hawick, in the Scottish Borders after heavy rainfall caused the River Tweed and River Teviot to begin to overflow.
The Scottish Borders Council’s flood team said this would be a “significant flood event” with the potential for up to 500 properties being affected.
The decision to declare a major incident was taken by various agencies including NHS Borders, and it will be led by police.
Plans to evacuate those likely to be affected are now underway.
Trinity Primary School and Hawick High School were closed with staff and pupils sent home.
NHS Borders has taken the decision to close Teviot Health Centre and all services that operate within the Health Centre. While the council has reopened the rest centre at Teviotdale Leisure Centre to provide assistance to those displaced by the risk of flooding.
Public urged to avoid travel within the region
The flooding situation in Peebles has also been described as very serious with schools in the Peebles area closed early this afternoon.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) had issued a number of flood warnings and alerts on Thursday with many in the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway areas.
Chief Inspector Vinnie Fisher, local area commander for the Scottish Borders said: “We have been monitoring the situation with the weather in the Borders closely as the day has progressed and we have now made the decision, alongside our partners, to declare a major incident and have begun evacuating various residents around the River Teviot from their properties.
“We are working with our colleagues at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Scottish Borders Council to safely move all of those affected and ensure they are appropriately accommodated for the time being.
“I would urge the public to avoid travel within the region unless absolutely necessary and to pay attention for more information as we continue to respond to this matter.”
It comes as motorists and rail passengers have faced disruption amid heavy rain in southern Scotland and northern England.
Weather warnings of heavy rain are in force across those areas, including an amber alert for Cumbria which warns of “danger to life from fast flowing or deep floodwater”.
Police urged people to drive with care amid reports of flooding and standing water.
Traffic Scotland said it had reports of flooding on the M74/A74(M) around Abington in South Lanarkshire and on the A75 near Barlae in Dumfries and Galloway.
Train services have faced disruption
Train services were also disrupted by the weather, including the Edinburgh to Glasgow Central via Shotts, Edinburgh to Glasgow Queen Street via Falkirk High and Glasgow Queen Street to Alloa/Aberdeen/Inverness services.
ScotRail tweeted that “there’s disruption on many routes this morning due to extremely heavy rain”.
The Met Office issued a yellow warning for southern Scotland and South Lanarkshire which has been extended until 6pm and also now covers Strathclyde, Central Scotland, Tayside, Fife and the Lothians.
An amber warning of heavy rain for Cumbria in north-west England is in force until 11.59pm on Thursday while a yellow warning of rain, which also includes Yorkshire and Humber, is now in force from midnight until 3pm on Friday.
Cumbria Police warned that some roads may be impassable, while at around 6am on Thursday South Lakes police tweeted that the A591 Rydal to Grasmere road was not passable “due to the depth of flood waters in several locations” and urged people not to take unnecessary risks and only to travel if they really need to.
North of the border, Nithsdale police tweeted a video of a minor landslide blocking the B725 road and warned of large areas of flooding on that road from Dumfries to Glencaple.
Scotland’s transport minister Graeme Dey said: “The conditions could potentially bring disruption to the trunk road and rail networks, so it’s important people plan their journeys before they set off.
“Motorists should make sure their routes are available, follow travel advice from Police Scotland and drive to the conditions. The Traffic Scotland Twitter page is regularly updated and the mobile website – my.trafficscotland.org – lets people access the latest information.
“If you are planning to travel by rail, please check with your operator ahead of your journey. This is particularly important for cross-border travellers following the earlier disruption to services.”
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