Hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes and schools closed in parts of Scotland as northern Europe braced for stormy weather, heavy rain, and gale-force winds from the east. The Met Office issued a rare red alert for parts of Scotland, predicting “exceptional rainfall” on Thursday and Friday, expected to cause extensive flooding and “danger to life from fast-flowing or deep floodwater.” The storm, named Babet by U.K. Officials predict over a month of rain in Scotland’s worst-affected regions, while Babet already caused floods and swollen rivers in Ireland, leaving some areas under water and without power.
In Scotland, officials told residents of about 400 houses to evacuate to local rest centers, while schools, recreation centers, and vaccination hubs were closed. In Denmark, residents scrambled to place sandbags along exposed areas, and southern Denmark police urged people along the east coast to leave exposed areas if weather predictions remain.
The region is expected to experience the worst flooding in 110 years, with waves reaching up to 4 meters along east-facing coasts. The Danish town of Koege is urging citizens to avoid water-intensive activities and to fill sandbags. Police warn of blocked roads, urged people to secure valuables, and advised against sleeping on boats in harbors. Copenhagen’s airport and the Danish national rail company have issued cancellations and delays due to bad weather.
Ferries between Danish islands and Rostock in northern Germany and Oslo have been suspended. Swedish meteorologists have issued a warning for the south coast, predicting the water level in southern parts of Sweden may reach its highest level since the 1990s. In Germany, authorities have warned of high water in Schleswig-Holstein bays until Saturday.
Germany’s northernmost state, Schleswig-Holstein, is facing high water levels and heavy rains due to strong low-pressure areas over Great Britain and high pressure over northern Scandinavia. Certain ferries to the North Sea islands of Foehr and Amrum have been delayed or canceled. Heavy rains were also experienced in southern Europe. Spain experienced severe weather, leading to ferry cancellations and closures of public parks in several cities.
The stormy weather is expected to worsen Friday and comes after the hottest and driest first two weeks of October on record. Spain has been experiencing a severe drought for nearly two years. Local politician Liam Quaide in Cork, Ireland, emphasized the need for increased resources to prepare for climate change, stating that the scenes of devastation in Midleton are an ominous sign of what is ahead for the nation if we don’t double down on climate mitigation and adaptation.