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Storm Babet emergency teams say ice warning shows 'no time for complacency' in Highlands

By Philip Murray

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Residents and motorists are being warned of the dangers Storm Babet's flood waters could pose during the imminent ice warning.
Residents and motorists are being warned of the dangers Storm Babet's flood waters could pose during the imminent ice warning.

AN ice warning highlights the risks that floodwaters still pose to Highlanders in the wake of Storm Babet, emergency responders have said.

Members of the Highlands and Islands Resilience Partnership, which helped co-ordinate the multi-agency response to Storm Babet's widespread flooding, were speaking after they moved their response to the storm into the recovery phase.

Those behind the partnership say that while this shift signals that the worst of the crisis is over, the recovery phase still poses risks to the public – and added that a new weather warning from the Met Office is a strong example of this.

Large parts of the Highlands will be covered by the yellow warning for ice when it takes effect on Sunday at 9pm. It will be in force until 9am on Monday.

And Police Scotland’s North Highland area commander, Chief Inspector Stuart Fitzpatrick, said: “Whilst we are now in the recovery phase it is important to remain vigilant and take care on roads which will still be affected by standing water and potentially ice at some point over the next 12-24 hours.

Related: New Highland yellow weather warning issued by Met Office

Related: PICTURES: Images reveal scale of Storm Babet flooding chaos on Highland roads

“There will still be water in places where people may not expect it to be, and our message is stay safe and drive according to the conditions.”

People are being urged to be aware of the risks which may still exist, such as debris on footpaths or roads and the potential for ice on already saturated ground.

NHS Highland’s resilience manager, Kate Cochrane, added: “We are pleased that the weather is returning to more like what we would consider normality, but it’s important that people take care if they are out walking, to avoid any potential slips, trips, and falls.

“Ice can hide under grass and not be immediately apparent so we’re asking everyone to take care.”

The partnership's various agencies are also advising householder to check their own properties for any damage and take care when out and about, particularly given the imminent ice risk.

Highland Council is encouraging landowners to check trees and vegetation near to public roads which may have been damaged.

Landowners are also asked to check the drainage from their property that it is not blocked and overflowing onto public roads.

Tracey Urry, head of roads and infrastructure, said: “Damaged trees/vegetation and blocked drainage can cause potential hazards to road users by obstructing the passage of vehicles and pedestrians. The council is particularly concerned where weakened or damaged branches could subsequently fall on vehicles or pedestrians.

“Our teams have been working incredibly hard during Storm Babet try to keep the council’s roads clear but where there is a risk to our staff’s health and safety we sometimes have to postpone works until it is safe to resume works.”

For further information, landowners requiring advice and guidance on this matter should contact the council’s Service Centre on 01349 886601 (during office hours) or 01349 886690 (out of hours).

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