Argyll and Angus in Scotland were severely affected by record-breaking rainfall and flooding in October 2023. The storms caused landslides, damaged roads and bridges, and disrupted the lives and businesses of the locals. The extreme weather events are believed to be linked to anthropogenic climate change, with increasing atmospheric moisture resulting in the intensity of downpours. Whilst rainfall is highly variable in the UK, The Met Office says such events have become more common in October and December.

The Village of Ardfern has been stranded by numerous landslides on the hill above the A816 near Ardfern following the first extreme rainfall event, where the wettest two-day period was recorded in Scotland. This BBC Article explores the ongoing impact that this has had on the local community and business owners.

Residents of Brechin were evacuated when storm Babet threatened the flood defences for the River South Esk; this demonstrated the value of forecasting and early warning systems and their role in preparedness and response. However, in the long-term, the more significant issue is the viability of the flood defences when climate change is factored in, the unanticipated overwhelming of the flood defences, and the risk that this may not be a one-off event.

Angus Council insists the scheme was never intended to consider climate change. The flood protection scheme, opened in 2016, was designed to handle up to 3.8m above normal levels, the equivalent of a one in 200 probability event. But a measuring gauge was overwhelmed at 4.4m in October 2023, leading council engineers to recalculate the probability of a defence breach.  Councils and communities continue to respond and recover whilst exploring alternatives for long-term mitigation, adaptation and resilience to extreme weather and climate change.


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