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Floods cut off villages in isles chaos.

Byline: BOB DOW

TORRENTIAL rain and landslides brought flood chaos to Shetland yesterday and left 3000 people without water supplies.

More than half an inch of rain fell in four hours, flooding homes, blocking roads and bringing down power lines.

Landslides cut off the main island's only major road as floods rose to 21ft in some areas.

The slides also destroyed a newly built mains water pipe, leading to fears that Sewage could get into the water system.

Bottled water was handed out to homes affected by the cut-off.

At least seven major landslides blocked the A970 road between Sandwick and Cunningsburgh.

That left Sandwick cut off from the rest of the island until a road north was cleared at lunchtime.

Roads south of the village were still cut off last night as engineers attempted to clear them.

Sumburgh airport was also cut off and hundreds of people were unable to get to work in Lerwick. Schools were also closed.

Motorist Hugh Harrup told how he was almost caught in one of the landslides as he watched a torrent of water followed by a wall of mud cross the road in front of him.

He said: ``I had to stop and reverse to get the hell out of there. I looked in the mirror and there was this torrent of mud coming towards me.

``It was just incredible, there was no other word for it and there were poor animals on the hill. It was four or five seconds of complete madness.''

Farmers struggled to rescue their animals and hundreds of sheep are thought to have been swept to their deaths.

An entire beach at Hoswick was swept away by the force of water racing into the sea. Several footbridges were also washed away as tiny burns were transformed into rivers in minutes.

Police constable Andy Courts said the floods had caught everyone out.

He added: ``The community couldn't believe their eyes when they woke up and saw the extent of the damage.''

Weathermen said the chaos was caused by the massive downpour running straight off hills which had been dried out by two hot summers.

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TORRENT: Sandwick
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 20, 2003
Words:360
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