Further downpour on the way as mop-up starts

Work in progress clearing Bell Street, Stockbridge
Work in progress clearing Bell Street, Stockbridge
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FLOOD-HIT residents in the Capital were today bracing themselves for another onslaught of torrential rain as workmen raced to clean up after last week’s downpours.

More wet weather was due to hit the city this afternoon, just 24 hours after neighbours in the Stockbridge Colonies returned to their homes to gather belongings and survey damage after a weekend of woe.

Traffic struggles in Blackhall

Traffic struggles in Blackhall

Saturday’s rain left more than 30 homes affected after the Water of Leith burst its banks. Homeowners told how they had been forced to abandon their properties, which were devastated by the flooding.

Alison Differ, 29, of Glenogle Terrace, said: “I’ve been back and the whole downstairs is ruined. The basement is filled to the brim and all the floors in my house will have to come up. Much of my furniture has been destroyed, too.

“For now I’m in short-term accommodation and I expect that this will be the case for the next three months.”

Waterlogged neighbours said Lagan Construction, the company working with the city council to build a £11.5 million flood defence scheme, had not done enough to prevent the damage, claiming that a temporary barricade of sandbags was wholly inadequate.

Ms Differ said: “Lagan had 24 hours’ notice of heavy rain. All the local residents knew that there could be flooding yet there were no pumps in place until lunchtime. The temporary wall was never going to withstand the flood of water.”

Dr Stephen Jones, of Dunrobin Place, agreed that the response had been slow.

He said: “The fault of flooding in the streets is entirely at Lagan’s door. They put all their eggs in one basket expecting that the temporary sandbag wall would hold. It didn’t, and by the time their men showed up the water was in and the damage done.”

Lagan made no comment, while the city council said the rainfall was “unprecedented”.

Council leader Andrew Burns said: “The flood waters may have receded but for those households affected it will take a lot longer to repair the damage caused on Saturday.

“Council taskforce teams have been working hard to clean up affected areas, clearing mud and debris from streets and pavements. This is now largely complete, and from today we will be leafleting all homes that have been hit by floodwater to offer assistance in removing damaged furniture and floor coverings.

“The events over the weekend highlight the necessity of the work currently being undertaken to improve the Water of Leith flood defences. The defences which were breached due to Saturday’s unprecedented heavy rainfall were temporary structures. Permanent defences already in place held as designed.”

Council teams have been making preparations, with a gully motor, a device which can lift surface water, on standby. Workmen will also be monitoring Victorian drains, and other places that are known to flood quickly.

4ft of water closes mill

ONE of the oldest meal mills in Scotland has been forced to close its doors to visitors after it was flooded by over four feet of rain.

Preston Mill near East Linton will be closed for the next week after heavy rain poured into both the meal mill and visitor centre.

Staff at the National Trust property have been praised for their efforts in removing stock and furniture once it became clear the nearby River Tyne was about to burst.

A National Trust spokeswoman said: “There is over four foot of water in the mill itself and two foot in the visitor centre.

“There is a good deal of damage but thankfully staff acted swiftly.”

Souper donation after food festival washout

WEEKEND downpours have left a city charity flooded after more than 1.2 tonnes poured in through its doors – of soup.

The Taste of Edinburgh festival might have seen its parade rained on, but there was no chance of the food going to waste. A project run by FareShare charity Cyrenians was gifted the soup by exhibitor Glorious!, which had hoped to dish it out to 30,000 paying customers at the cancelled festival.

Matthew Stephenson of Glorious! said: “It would have been terrible to see so much fresh food go to waste, so we’re delighted that it has gone to a great cause.”

Christopher Somerville, manager at Cyrenians, said: “As you can imagine, suddenly becoming custodian of 1.2 tonnes of soup can have its logistical challenges, but it’s a challenge we’re more than happy to deal with. The soup will be distributed.”

Botanics are the wettest

THE Royal Botanic Garden has been declared the wettest place in Scotland after almost a month’s rain fell in just 21 hours.

Between 6pm last Friday and 3pm on Saturday, 42.8mm of rain fell in the Capital – the usual monthly average is 56.7mm. Since the start of June, 230mm of rain has been recorded at the garden, with the usual average total for the summer between 150 and 200mm.

Heavy rain is due to return this afternoon with further fears of flooding. A Met Office spokesman said: “A further band of heavy rain will come down from the north west and reach Edinburgh during this afternoon. This will bring persistent and at times heavy rain. There is a risk of further flooding as the ground is so waterlogged.”

Explaining the bad weather, he said the jet stream had been further south than usual: “This has meant Atlantic low pressure systems have been over the UK for the whole month.”