Date: October 21, 2023
Storm Babet wreaked havoc across the United Kingdom, claiming the lives of four individuals and prompting the issuance of 360 warnings throughout the country. Scotland, in particular, bore the brunt of the storm’s fury, with a red “danger to life” warning persisting in parts of the north-eastern region until 11:59 PM.
Scotland’s First Minister, Humza Yousaf, issued a stark warning, stating, “We have not seen the last of this.” The grim reality of his words became evident when a 56-year-old resident in Angus, Scotland, tragically lost his life after a tree fell onto his van on Thursday. Another victim, a 57-year-old individual, was swept into the waters off Lee in Glen Esk, highlighting the unprecedented rainfall Scotland has been facing.
Friday evening brought more tragedy as a man from Shropshire succumbed after encountering difficulties in floodwater at Cleobury Mortimer. The storm, packing winds reaching up to 70mph, accompanied by over a meter of rainfall, raised concerns about entire towns and villages being submerged and cut off from essential services.
Across England, 353 flood warnings were issued in areas including the north-east, Yorkshire, north-west, East Anglia, south-west, and Midlands. Power outages compounded the crisis, leaving 55,000 people without electricity. Fortunately, 45,000 of them were reconnected by the evening, according to the Energy Networks Association.
In the face of rising waters, more than 400 residents in the Brechin area were evacuated amid fears that the River South Esk might breach its banks. Additionally, residents in Monifieth, near Dundee, were urged to leave their homes promptly to ensure their safety.
The storm’s impact extended far beyond Scotland, causing widespread travel chaos in Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire, and Leicestershire. Reports of flooding emerged even in Wales, underscoring the storm’s unprecedented scale and the challenges faced by emergency services and affected communities.
As Storm Babet continues its relentless assault, emergency services remain on high alert, and residents are urged to heed warnings, evacuate if necessary, and prioritize their safety above all else. The coming days will test the UK’s resilience as communities unite to face this natural disaster head-on.