The Met Office has issued amber weather warnings for the first time since March as heavy rain lashes much of the UK. Persistent downpours are expected to bring flooding and transport disruption, with more than 20 flood alerts – most of which are in southern England – in place.There are amber weather warnings for rain in Wales, the West Midlands, south-west England and also parts of eastern Scotland on Saturday.The Met Office said the last time amber warnings were issued for rain was in March, as forecasters warned of heavy rain across much of the country.The places worst hit so far include parts of Exmoor, with 84mm of rain recorded in 36 hours in Liscombe and 74.4mm recorded in Brendon Hill.Meteorologist John Griffiths said: “There’s still a lot of wet weather to get through today and into tonight, so we haven’t really seen the worst of it yet.”Griffiths said there has been 45-60mm of rain widely across southern England.It comes after a low-pressure system named Storm Alex moved in from France and clipped the southern edge of Britain on Friday.It brought heavy rain and strong winds, with 71mph recorded at Berry Head on the Devon coast.Many places will see 25-50mm of rainfall this weekend, and there is the potential for over 120mm on some of the most exposed high ground of Snowdonia and Exmoor.Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Central Tayside and Fife plus the Grampian regions of Scotland are set to be hit by 40-70mm of rain with over 120mm possible over high ground on Saturday, Met Office meteorologist Greg Dewhurst said.Yellow rain warnings are also in place for the east of England, London and the South East plus much of Wales, western England and eastern Scotland where heavy rain is set to push in from the North West.The rain is set to last throughout Saturday and into Sunday in these areas.Dewhurst said “it is going to be raining and horrible all day” on Saturday, adding: “If you have to travel take extra time on your journey, the roads will be pretty treacherous at times with poor visibility due to the heavy rain.”Drains could become blocked with debris as trees are now in full leaf and there is a heightened risk of flooding and very difficult driving conditions.Carol Holt, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, added that “widespread and persistent rain is likely to lead to flooding” in some areas over the weekend.She added: “We urge people to stay away from swollen rivers and not to drive though flood water – it is often deeper than it looks and just 30cm of flowing water is enough to float your car.”RAC Breakdown spokesman Rod Dennis said that road conditions will be “miserable if not downright dangerous” for drivers this weekend.He said they will need to be prepared for “an ugly mix” of surface spray, gusty winds and more than likely some disruption on the roads.Related... Rough Sleepers Face Choosing Between 'Horrific' Violence On Streets Or Catching Coronavirus James Bond Fans Are Now Going To Have To Wait Even Longer To See No Time To Die The 7 Types Of Protester Who Attend An Anti-Lockdown Rally
Two teenagers who went missing after getting into difficulty in water in Lancashire have been named as brothers. Ali Athar Sabbir, 16, and Muhammad Azhar Shabbir, 18, from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire have not been seen since shortly before 7pm on Saturday close to St Annes Pier in Lytham St Annes at about 6.55pm on Saturday.A 15-year-old boy also from Dewsbury managed to swim to the shore and is being treated in hospital.In a statement, Lancashire Police said: “Our HM Coastguard and RNLI colleagues searched the water well into the night. They have been able to start looking again this morning and the police helicopter will soon also join the search. We will continue to offer our support.“If you have any information that could help the search, please call 101 quoting reference 1398 of August 15.“Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of the missing man and boy.”Coastguard rescue teams from Lytham and Fleetwood and the coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Caernarfon attended the scene on Saturday after they received a 999 call just before 6.40pm, said HM Coastguard.They were joined by RNLI lifeboats from Lytham St Annes and Blackpool, and independent rescue service Southport Lifeboat, together with Lancashire Police and North West Ambulance Service.The coastguard helicopter is no longer on site and a police helicopter has joined the search on Sunday, HM Coastguard added.Related... Fears Modern Slavery Victims Are Falling Off Radar As Referrals See Huge Drop During Lockdown Tributes Paid To 'Amazing' And 'Loving' Men Killed In Aberdeenshire Train Crash
Tributes have been paid to the train driver, conductor and passenger killed in the Aberdeenshire train crash on Wednesday morning.The family of driver Brett McCullough said he was “the most decent and loving human being we have ever known”.A union official said conductor Donald Dinnie was “an amazing person” while the family of Christopher Stuchbury from Aberdeen also paid tribute to the 62-year-old who volunteered at a palliative care unit.The three men were killed after the 6.38am Aberdeen to Glasgow Queen Street ScotRail service left the tracks south of Stonehaven on Wednesday.McCullough leaves behind wife Stephanie and three children.His family said in a statement: “Words cannot describe the utterly devastating effect of Brett’s death on his family and friends.“We have lost a wonderful husband, father and son in the most awful of circumstances. Brett was the most decent and loving human being we have ever known and his passing leaves a huge void in all our lives.“We would like to thank the emergency services for their heroic efforts in helping everyone affected by this tragedy and for all the messages of support and condolence we have received.”McCullough, who worked in ScotRail’s Aberdeen depot and lived near the crash site, was a former gas engineer who had been a train driver for seven years.Originally from Bromley, Kent, he moved to Aberdeenshire to marry his wife.STONEHAVEN INCIDENT - UPDATEThe three people who died at the derailment incident have been formally identified and can be named as Brett McCullough (45) - Driver; Donald Dinnie (58) - Conductor; Christopher Stuchbury (62) - Passenger. More at:— Police Scotland (@policescotland) August 13, 2020Kevin Lindsay, Aslef’s organiser in Scotland said McCullough was servicing the gas boiler of an Aberdeen train driver when they started chatting about the job and he decided to join the railways.He said: “He was a dedicated train driver, who loved his job, and was very popular at the depot with his colleagues.“He was also a devoted family man who loved his wife and children – two girls and a boy. Brett thought the world of his family, and we all thought the world of him.”The family of Dinnie also said: “As a family we are devastated by the sudden and tragic loss of Donald, a loving and proud dad, son, partner, brother, uncle and friend.“No words could ever describe how much he will be missed by us all and there will always be a missing piece in our hearts.“It is so heart warming to see how many people have fond memories of Donald and I am sure they have plenty of happy and funny stories to tell.“He was a kind, caring and genuine person who was never found without a smile on his face. We know he will be deeply missed by all.“Together we thank each and every one of you for your kind words and condolences but we kindly ask at this time that we have the chance to grieve privately as a family.”Lindsay said the thoughts of his colleagues are with the families of McCullough and Dinnie, as did RMT senior assistant general secretary Mick Lynch.Lynch said: “On behalf of the union I want to send condolences, support and solidarity to Donald Dinnie’s family‎, friends and colleagues.“It is absolutely clear that he was much loved and highly respected by all who knew him and his death is a tragedy that has shocked our entire industry.“Donald’s branch, Aberdeen 1, have told me that ‎he was an amazing person. He lit up every room he walked into with his cheery banter and stories.“Many knew Donald for most of his railway career as a driver and a guard. He was very much a family man and a valued, active and proud member of the RMT.‎”The family of Stuchbury said he enjoyed volunteering in his spare time at Roxburghe House, a specialist palliative care unit run by NHS GrampianTheir statement said: “Chris was a much adored husband, son, dad, stepdad, granddad, brother and uncle and was a treasured and loved friend to many, including the Targe Towing Team where he was an integral and valued member of staff.“He also volunteered at Roxburghe House in Aberdeen during his spare time which he thoroughly enjoyed doing.“We are devastated by his death and we request privacy at this difficult time as we come to terms with our loss.”Related... Climate Change A Factor In Aberdeenshire Train Crash, Suggests Scottish Transport Secretary Three Dead And Six Taken To Hospital After Train Derails In Aberdeenshire
There are early reports of “serious injuries” after a train derailed near Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire in what is being classed as a “major incident”, Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.Pictures posted from the scene showed at least six ambulance vehicles, an air ambulance and a number of police response cars at the scene.Smoke could be seen billowing in the background.Latest update from the scene. @[email protected]— Ben Philip (@BenPhilip_) August 12, 2020Rail industry sources told the PA news agency that the suspected cause of the incident was a landslip. Heavy rain and flooding also affected the area on Wednesday morning.The train involved was the 6.38am Aberdeen to Stonehaven, made up of an engine and four carriages. It is reported that the engine and three carriages derailed, and slid down an embankment.West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie said the local hospital had declared a major incident.He told the PA news agency: “It’s obviously a terrible situation, a train derailment, the emergency services are on the scene.“I’ve already spoken to Grant Shapps, who has spoken to Network Rail and the British Transport Police who are obviously investigating and assisting. I am aware that Aberdeen Royal Infirmary has declared a major incident.”Speaking before First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, Nicola Sturgeon said that although “details are still emerging”, there are “early reports of serious injuries”.“My immediate thoughts and the thoughts of those across the chamber are with all those involved.”The Scottish government’s resilience room is also now operational, and the first minister said she will convene a meeting this afternoon.This is an extremely serious incident. I’ve had an initial report from Network Rail and the emergency services and am being kept updated. All my thoughts are with those involved.— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) August 12, 2020Prime minister Boris Johnson said he was “saddened” to hear about the “serious incident,” tweeting that his thoughts were with everyone affected. ScotRail posted a message on Twitter shortly after 6.30am warning that services across Scotland would be disrupted due to “extremely heavy rain flooding”.A video shared on Facebook at 7.30am shows heavy flooding in Stonehaven.Bowie had been in Stonehaven surveying the flood damage earlier on Wednesday, describing the situation as “really bad”.He said: “The main river which flows through it, had burst its banks and the heavy rain had caused flooding in the centre of Stonehaven and lots of the side streets leading off it.“Luckily, the water receded incredibly quickly and the river has peaked and is going down. Obviously none of us expected there to be such a serious incident as a rail derailment at the same time, but it just goes to show how damaging the bad weather can be.”He added: “I don’t think speculation is helpful at this stage. We obviously don’t know why the derailment took place, but obviously we have suffered terrible weather here.”This is a breaking news story and will be updated. Follow HuffPost UK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
We’re here to guide you through the coronavirus pandemic. Sign up to the Life newsletter for daily tips, advice, how-tos and escapism.Two great-grandparents separated over lockdown celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary with a physically-distanced outdoor lunch at a care home.Andy Davidson, an 88-year-old resident at Jesmond Care Home in Aberdeen, and his 86-year-old wife Margaret, enjoyed some food and a whisky while separated by a Perspex screen as they marked the milestone.Their daughter Brenda had cushions made with pictures of their faces on them “so they can cuddle up together” while care home visiting remains restricted.She also organised a cake, while Andy made a picture for his wife with a blue heart to represent their sapphire anniversary. When asked for the secret to a long and happy marriage, Andy said they “have just always gotten along fine”.The couple met at work in 1951 and married on July 30 four years later at New Deer South Church in Turriff, Aberdeenshire.Andy worked for a local builder’s firm before carrying out national service for two years, and when he returned his future wife was the new office clerk.They were formally introduced by her brother Gordon at a dance – with Andy proposing at another dance in New Deer which eventually became their wedding venue.Margaret said: “Andy was always a quiet man. We were walking along the road and he turned to me and said ‘Let’s get married’.”As well as daughter Brenda, the couple are parents to son Andrew, grandparents to three children and have one great-grandchild.Andy said he “couldn’t believe” they have been married 65 years, while care home staff said they were impressed at the constant compliments he gives his wife, telling her she “looked really good”.Jade McGowan, activities co-ordinator at the Renaissance Care home, said: “It was great to be able to help set the anniversary celebration up for Andy and Margaret.“Lockdown has been tough for all of our residents’ loved ones and it’s been fantastic seeing them reunite over the last few weeks.“But to mark 65 years of love between the pair was extra special.”Related... Coronavirus Is A Minefield. We’ll Help You Understand It. The Risks Of Going On A Plane Right Now – And How To Reduce Them Opinion: I've Been Shielding For The Past 4 Months – And I'm Not Stopping Now
This week’s cold snap has brought snow and ice to many parts of the country and forecasters are now predicting “freezing rain” is likely to hit.An overnight low of -9C was recorded in Aboyne, a village on the edge of the Highlands in Aberdeenshire, while Cavendish in Suffolk was hit by temperatures of -5C.Becky Mitchell, a Met Office meteorologist, warned that showers in predominately eastern parts of the country, as well as freezing rain in the south east, could bring treacherous travel conditions throughout Thursday.She added that cold temperatures across northern, central and eastern parts had led to a yellow weather warning for ice being put in place across large parts of the nation until 11am on Thursday.Discussing the impact that this could have, Mitchell said: “In these sorts of conditions, ice is normally going to form on any unattended roads, pavements and cycle paths.“We’d advise motorists, pedestrians and cyclists to take extra care for much of the morning and the day.”
Archaeologists were amazed when they first saw a newly-identified ancient arrangement of stones on a farm in Aberdeen in December.They first found out about the monument when a woman who owns the farm told local experts about the stone circle after she couldn’t find any records of the ancient ring.The experts believed it was a new discovery of what they know as Recumbent Stone Circles, which were built in the northeast region of Scotland about 3,500 to 4,500 years ago.Scottish archaeologists arrived at the scene and remarked at how unique the arrangement was.“In numbering ten stones it fits the average, but its diameter is about three [meters] smaller than any known hitherto and it is unusual in that all the stones are proportionately small,” Adam Welfare of Historic Environment Scotland said, according to an Aberdeenshire Council news release.But the experts hoped the differences might help them learn something new about local history.
Stonehenge may be the world's most famous stone circle, but the British isles are dotted with the ancient creations.When archaeologists identified a previously unknown stone circle on a farm in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, in December, it was a cause for celebration.But the party didn't last long.The Aberdeenshire Council announced on Monday that the stone circle, originally identified as dating to around 3,500-4,500 years ago, is actually only a couple of decades old."This amazing new site adds to our knowledge of these unique monuments and of the prehistoric archaeology of the area," Aberdeenshire Council archaeologist Neil Ackerman said in the original announcement.Ackerman has a sense of humor about the misidentification, writing on Twitter, "If you are having an awkward day at work, at least you're not that guy who identified a new prehistoric stone circle to the press that now turns out to be about 20 years old."
Archaeologists in Scotland have revealed that a stone circle thought to be thousands of years old is actually a modern replica.Aberdeenshire Council said that experts were initially excited by the discovery of the ‘Recumbent Stone Circle,’ a type of monument typically constructed about 3,500 to 4,000 years ago that is unique to the North East of Scotland.The stone circle, which is in the parish of Leochel-Cushnie, was reported by the current owner of the farm where it is located, according to officials.“Some unusual features were noted during its recording, including its small diameter, proportionately small stones and lack of an obvious associated cairn or kerb stones,” explained Aberdeenshire County Council, in a statement.“There is however a huge amount of variation between Recumbent Stone Circles so finding these kinds of differences was not initially a major cause for concern.”STONEHENGE SECRET: DID BUILDERS USE PYTHAGORAS' THEOREM 2,000 YEARS BEFORE THE PHILOSOPHER LIVED?
(Neil Ackerman/Aberdeenshire Council Archaeology Service)A Neolithic circle of standing stones was recently "discovered" by archaeologists in Scotland.The ancient monumental structure — thought to be between 3,500 and 4,500 years old — consists of 10 stones, each about 3 feet (1 meter) high, standing in a circle about 25 feet (7.7 m) across.[See Photos of the Ancient Stone Circle in Scotland]The monument is an example of a "recumbent" stone circle, a Neolithic style unique to the northeast of Scotland and the south-west of Ireland.This style has a large "recumbent" stone lying on its side between two upright stones, or "flankers," in the southwest of the circle.
Britain is braced for a chilly weekend, with temperatures expected to plummet below freezing across the country.Some parts of the country will see frosty conditions overnight on Friday, with some freezing fog developing by morning.But don’t get too excited – the dry conditions mean there is little chance of snow.The coldest night of the winter so far was experienced in Scotland on Wednesday into Thursday, according to the Met Office, with the lowest temperature in Braemar, Aberdeenshire, recorded at -10.5C.Another frosty night saw lows of -8C in Aboyne, also in Aberdeenshire, -7C in Sennybridge, in Powys, and -6.1C in Oxfordshire overnight Thursday.Met Office spokeswoman Nicola Maxey said the wintry weather will continue into the weekend, with areas where there are clear skies expected to see the coldest temperatures.
The Scottish government has today confirmed a case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) on a farm in Aberdeenshire.Movement restrictions have been put in place at the farm, while further investigations are carried out, the government said in a statement.Read more: US wants to start trade talks with UK as soon as possible post-BrexitRural economy secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Following confirmation of a case of classical BSE in Aberdeenshire, I have activated the Scottish government’s response plan to protect our valuable farming industry, including establishing a precautionary movement ban being placed on the farm.”BSE, also known as mad cow disease, can cause the fatal Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) in humans.BSE devastated the British farming industry in the 1990s with more than four million cattle slaughtered to stop the spread of the disease.
A dad threw his children's Playmobil pirate ship in the sea.We've all been there, but this was not in a rage about the stupid noises it makes; the toy ship is off on a journey of discovery.The Playmobil ship was first modified by dad MacNeill Ferguson, who added polystyrene to keep it afloat and a weight to ensure it stayed upright, along with a GPS transmitter so him and his kids could watch it sail away.It first floated from the coast of Aberdeenshire to Scandinavia, where it was successfully retrieved and sent off again from the west of Africa on a trans-Atlantic voyage.There is some serious dad money being invested in this little parental bonding exercise.The family thought the ship was lost when it recently ceased transmitting, but after a week of radio silence its GPS pings were received again, showing it was somewhere in the vicinity of Barbados.
Hywind is the first commercial floating wind farm, located more than 15 miles off the coast of Aberdeenshire, Scotland in the North Sea.Built by Norwegian conglomerate Statoil, the six turbines came online last October, generating 30MW of power.Since that time, the wind farm has exceeded expectations, with a 65 percent capacity factor over the last three months.As noted at Ars Technica, capacity factor is a measure of a power plant’s production against its maximum capability.Nuclear plants, for example, have a capacity factor of nearly 100% because they’re always running.By comparison, according to the U.S. Energy Department, solar photovoltaic generation averaged 27 percent in 2017, with conventional hydropower such as dams averaging about 45 percent.