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News / Road damage investigation after Friday’s downpour

Council workers are due to investigate why the road surface on South Road became raised. Photo: SIC

FRIDAY’s exceptional heavy rain that damaged the surface of Lerwick’s South Road near the junction with Upper Baila was the third highest rainfall experienced in one hour since records began in the 1950s.

Figures from the Met Office show that a total of 19mm fell at the Lerwick weather station between 5pm and 6pm.

A number of roads as well as some business premises at Harrison Square were flooded in the downpour.

It was the third highest volume of rain recorded in Lerwick in an hour since records began in 1957.

This photo from Iain Hunter shows how the surface became damaged in Friday’s rain.

Shetland Islands Council (SIC) said that traffic lights would be in place on South Road from Tuesday morning to allow an investigation into the road surface which had become raised.

Warning signs are currently in place for road users.

In a statement, the SIC said: “The road damage will require excavation of the full width of the road to establish the cause, before repairs can then take place.

“Road users should be expect delays on this stretch of road until the investigation and repairs are complete.

“Shetland Islands Council would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused by this essential work.”

Responding to suggestions that the town’s drains would have coped better with the downpour had they be cleaned more regularly the council’s road service responded saying that the drains had simply been inundated with the amount of water that fell within a short period of time.

The Met office said that the highest hourly rainfall on record had been 20.2mm overnight on 1 September 1994.

Friday’s downpour, however, was the highest hourly rainfall ever recorded for a day in August.

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The second highest hourly rainfall in August, at 16.4mm, occurred on 22 August 2012.

The Met Office also said that Lerwick had one third of its August mean rainfall, or 25mm, in just two hours on Friday between 4pm to 6pm. The mean monthly rainfall for August is 83.7mm.

Lerwick DIY said on social media that its shop at Harrison Square would be closed until further notice due to Friday’s heavy rain and subsequent flooding.

Next-door neighbour Coffee Culture was also affected by water ingress on Friday, the company said, but staff managed to mop up the water quickly and business was not affected.

Holmsgarth Road was also flooded by 6pm on Friday. Photo: Andrew Gibson/Millgaet Media

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