THE Government has chaired an emergency resilience meeting as the northeast of Scotland prepares to be battered by Storm Babet.

People living in parts of Angus and south Aberdeenshire - between Perth and Stonehaven, west of Pitlochry - are being advised to stay at home as the region is under a rare red alert weather warning on Thursday and Friday.

Deputy First Minister Shona Robison chaired a meeting of the Scottish Government’s Resilience Room on Wednesday evening and environmental experts said there is a risk to life given the predicted extent of flooding.

An amber weather warning is also in place in parts of Stirling, Perthshire, Aviemore, Moray, Angus, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen from Thursday morning until Friday evening and people in those areas are advised not to travel unless absolutely necessary.

The National: The red weather warning covers a large area in North East ScotlandThe red weather warning covers a large area in North East Scotland (Image: Met Office)

Another amber alert is in place for high winds expected in eastern Angus and eastern Aberdeenshire.

The risk of flooding in the north east is said to be exacerbated by recent heavy rainfall which has left the ground saturated.

It is expected many communities will be hit by flooding and people are being warned their cars may be swept away by fast-flowing water if they choose to drive.

'Stay at home' 

Robison said: “Red warnings are rarely issued by the Met Office and this reflects how serious the impacts will be from the exceptional weather we can expect - particularly in the northeast of Scotland in the next two days.

“The strong message is that if you are in the parts of Angus and south Aberdeenshire affected – please stay at home and do not travel.

“Other parts of Scotland are also at risk of flooding as rivers respond and drainage systems become overwhelmed.

“The risk is exacerbated by the fact that many catchments are already saturated following last week’s heavy rainfall and flooding.

READ MORE: ScotRail announces huge travel disruption ahead of Storm Babet

“No one should take the risks for granted and I would urge everyone in the country to prepare where necessary, heed the travel warnings issued by Police Scotland and take extreme care around fast-flowing water.

“Regional resilience partnerships have been activated and the Scottish Government is working very closely with them and with all partner agencies to ensure that all possible preparations are made and that everyone has full and immediate access to the most up-to-date information.

“I am grateful for the efforts of partners and volunteers in making preparations to help the public stay safe.

“Anyone seeking live updates should follow these partner organisations on social media, and can also consult the Ready Scotland website for general advice on how to prepare for, respond to, and recover from severe weather emergencies.”

'Driving extremely dangerous'

Assistant Chief Constable Stuart Houston of Police Scotland advised people to heed warnings and to avoid travelling, especially those travelling in high-sided vehicles like lorries to which high winds pose particular risk.

He said: “Our advice is to avoid any form of travel in those areas covered by the red weather warning.

“Driving conditions are expected to be extremely dangerous with disruption and significant delays during this period.

READ MORE: What does a red weather warning from the Met Office mean and is it dangerous?

“In those areas covered by amber warnings for rain and wind, we would urge drivers, particularly those of high-sided vehicles, to consider if their journeys are essential or if they could be delayed until conditions improve.

“Don’t ignore road closure signs – they are for your safety.”

'Danger to life' 

Pascal Lardet, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency’s flood duty manager, said: “Scotland has already experienced a significant flood event this month, which communities are still recovering from, and some of the rainfall totals forecast for this week are higher than experienced over that weekend – albeit in some different areas. 

“We’re expecting extensive river and surface water flooding in affected areas, with widespread impacts to transport and infrastructure.

“There is a risk of more significant community scale property flooding – and there will be danger to life.

“Regional flood alerts have already been issued, and localised flood warnings will be issued over the next few days as rivers respond.

“However, it is important to note that not all areas that could be affected have flood warning schemes, so please do take a flood alert in your area as advance notice that you could be affected.

“Take action now to protect yourself and your property. Hazards can be hidden, so please don’t walk or drive into flood water.

“Remember that not only is flood water likely to be dirty, 30 cm of fast-flowing water can move an average family-sized car, and just 15 cm of fast-flowing water could be enough to knock you off your feet.”