Edinburgh weather: Business owner in 'panic' mode ahead of thunderstorm warning

An Edinburgh business owner said he is in “panic station” mode, as weather experts forecast thunderstorms and heavy downpours for the region.

Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 2:36 pm

Johnny Bacigalupo, who owns Napier Bathrooms & Interiors Ltd in Canonmills, said his business and surrounding properties were badly hit by extreme downpours on July 4 – a day which saw the equivalent of two thirds of the average monthly rainfall fall in just one hour.

With the Met Office’s recent yellow warning for thunderstorms and heavy rain on Tuesday, the luxury bathroom business owner said panic has set in.

Speaking to Edinburgh Evening News, Mr Bacigalupo said: "It is complete panic station here at the moment, it makes me feel sick knowing what might come.

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This time last year, Mr Bacigalupo faced £100,000 worth of water damage due to flooding.

He added: "This level of flooding is not exactly the first time this has happened, and the fact that we haven’t had any support from the council for the damage caused is shocking.”

A yellow weather warning for thunderstorms and rain is in place from midday on Tuesday until 6am on Thursday.

The weather warning has prompted Edinburgh City Council and Scottish Water to arrange for local flood teams to be on standby in an attempt to mitigate further flooding damage.

But while Mr Bacigalupo said he acknowledges little can be done about the extreme weather, he said the council is not doing enough to support businesses at risk of flood damage.

He added: "We have had to call around to find sandbags.

"We tried to order specialist ‘Venice barriers’ to help prevent damage, but they won’t arrive in time.

"It’s just an awful feeling not knowing what level of rainfall we are to expect, and the lack of communication and support from the council has been deeply disappointing.”

Thunderstorms are expected from midday on Tuesday, with yellow weather warnings for heavy rain in place from Wednesday to Thursday.

Councillor Karen Doran, Transport and Environment Vice Convener, said: “It is very difficult to prepare for the sudden, extreme and often localised weather we experienced earlier this month, when around half of the average rainfall for the whole of July fell in one hour.

"Our roads drainage system, along with the sewerage system maintained by Scottish Water, is simply not designed to cope with this. Residents should report any blocked gullies through the council’s website in advance of heavy rainfall.

“Unfortunately, weather events like these are becoming more frequent as climate change effects intensify. We’ll continue to do everything we can to minimise the impact on the city’s roads and to monitor river flows and we’re now also developing surface water management plans to identify the areas most at risk of flooding, and to consider what mitigating actions we can take.”

Ms Doran said gully teams will be on standby to respond to road gullies becoming overwhelmed, and the council’s flood prevention team will be closely monitoring the weather forecast and river levels adding: “They will be ready to close flood gates if necessary.”

A Scottish Water spokesperson said it will be monitoring the city’s sewerage network closely and has teams on standby to assist where possible to help alleviate flooding – should this happen.

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