Weather said to be a factor in deadly Scotland train crash
Smoke rose up from a derailed train in Stonehaven, Scotland, on Aug. 12 after storms soaked parts of Scotland on the 11th, triggering flash flooding.
Smoke was seen billowing into the sky after a passenger train derailed Wednesday morning near the town of Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, in eastern Scotland, leaving at least three dead and at least six others injured.
Officers with the British Transport Police stated that they responded to the incident at 9:43 a.m., local time Wednesday, adding that they would remain at the scene to assist paramedics and the fire brigade.
Around 30 emergency vehicles, including air ambulance support, were already at the accident site with more expected to arrive as smoke could be seen following reports of an engine fire.
BBC reported that heavy rainfall was possibly to blame for the train's derailment on Wednesday morning.
Transport Secretary of Scotland, Michael Matheson, told BBC on Thursday that the formal investigation was still underway.
"What we don't want to do at this particular point is to start to speculate about what actually caused it. What I think we can assess, though, is that weather has had an impact," Matheson said.
Matheson added that he's seen an increased level of localized intense weather events that are having an impact on the transport network.
The railway that owned the car, ScotRail confirmed on Thursday that they were continuing to see "major disruptions" in their network following the incident and were putting together an emergency plan, according to Glasgow Live.
Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, described the event as an "extremely serious incident" and added that her thoughts are with those involved in the accident.
The incident occurred in Carmont, located to the west of Stonehaven, in an area that is "a very difficult location for emergency services to access," stated Sturgeon.
United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson also shared his condolences. "I am saddened to learn of the very serious incident in Aberdeenshire and my thoughts are with all of those affected. My thanks to the emergency services at the scene," he said.
According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Tyler Roys, this area was hard-hit by a complex of thunderstorms that moved through late Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.
"Rain was reported at Stonehaven from 4 to 10 a.m., local time, with the heaviest falling around 7 a.m.," he added.
Around 54.6 mm (2.15 inches) of rain was reported at Stonehaven between Tuesday and Wednesday morning. The River Carron was reported to have burst its banks in the town center. Schools, which were set to open this week after shuttering earlier this year due to the pandemic, were closed due to flooding, reported The Guardian.
The BBC reported one train that was scheduled to leave from Aberdeen to Glasgow around 6:30 a.m. local time was initially "halted" due to flooding on the railway.
Network Rail Scotland shared pictures and videos of train lines impacted by flooding on Wednesday morning. Just minutes after officers began responding to the derailment, Network Rail tweeted a video of rails covered with flood water and debris from a landslide in Carmont.
The track that runs through Carmont has been prone to landslides in the past. According to the BBC, the Aberdeen to Dundee line was closed due to a landslide at Carmont during torrential rain and gales on 22 October, 2002.
In addition, a Network Rail report from 2014 included Carmont in a "list of sites which in recent years have been greatly affected by earthslips”.
Unsettled conditions have been building across the British Isles since Monday as a slow-moving storm system moved over the region.
Heavy thunderstorms developed across parts of the Midlands, southern England and Wales on Monday, producing torrential rain, gusty winds and isolated hail. Storms became more widespread on Tuesday and spread spread north into Scotland.
With several days of downpours set for the region, flooding will be a growing concern into the second half of the week, including in eastern Scotland as recovery efforts continue. Any location that receives more than 20 mm (0.79 of an inch) of rain in one day will be particularly susceptible to flash flooding when rain arrives the following day.
Water will first be most likely to pool in low-lying and poor-drainage areas. Some water could settle on roadways after heavy downpours and restrict visibility for drivers for a short time, so motorists should use caution driving through some of these thunderstorms.
Lingering heat over the eastern British Isles is helping to fuel these locally heavy thunderstorms. Last Friday, London recorded the hottest day for August since 2003 as the temperature climbed to 37 C (98 F) in the afternoon.
Stormy weather will also push into northern France into the middle of the week, bringing the threat for thunderstorms to Paris. Like London, Paris has had record-challenging temperatures on and off this summer and reached a sweltering 38.9 C (102 F) on Sunday afternoon.
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