Family left terrified by lightning strike

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A FAMILY had a lucky escape after their house was struck by lightning at the weekend.

The Cattanachs’ roof in Easton Drive, Shieldhill, was damaged as dark clouds and torrential downpours sparked massive electrical storms on Saturday evening which terrified scores of residents over a two-hour period.

Nicola Cattanach said: “We had thunder and lightning just after 6 p.m. – then we heard this almighty crash and sparks started coming down the walls.

‘‘Our plugs blew and the satellite dish, televisions and DVD players were in pieces.”

After husband Mark noticed smoke coming from a hole in the gable end of the roof, Nicola sent children Robbie (12), Eve (9) and Lexi (4) to stay with neighbours as a precaution.

She said: “Mark went up to the loft, which we use as a playroom for the kids, and managed to put out the flames before the firefighters arrived. They said the lightning must have hit us in two different places at the same time.”

A number of other houses in Shieldhill were hit or affected by lightning on Saturday, including premises in Rannoch Place.

Flash floods also hit Easton Drive, with water running down steep streets into Shieldhill Newsagents.

Shopkeeper Irene Bissett said: “I’ve never seen weather like that in my life, the water was coming from everywhere.

“I kept the shop open over Saturday night in case anyone needed anything – and also because I couldn’t go anywhere due to the road conditions – but I had to close on Sunday and Monday.”

Firefighters and local authority personnel attended a multitude of callouts in a relatively short time, including flooding incidents in Beancross Road, Grangemouth; High Street, Falkirk; Station Road, Polmont; and Wallace Brae Drive, Brightons.

A Central Scotland Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said: “Shieldhill was one of the worst hit areas with flash flooding and a couple of houses damaged after being hit by lightning.

“The other areas affected included Polmont, Brightons and Hallglen. Over a two-hour period, from around 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., we had 17 call outs to that area for flood-related issues.

“Full and retained staff from Falkirk, Bo’ness and Larbert and retained staff from Slamannan were in attendance at various incidents.

‘‘Our resources were stretched for a short period of time, but thankfully no one was seriously injured.”

Firefighters also rescued a woman from a car surrounded by flood water in the Tesco store car park in Redding after 11 p.m.

A Falkirk Council spokesman said: “There were some extremely heavy downpours over a short period of time that affected the Falkirk East area on Saturday.

“Crews attended around 25 flood calls for assistance in less than two hours, however the majority of floods had fully subsided by the time we attended.

“Once the rain abated to normal rainfall conditions drainage systems were able to cope and the flooding drained naturally. Intense rainfall in some areas also led to excessive debris carried into the drains causing them to become blocked. These instances were dealt with later in the evening.”

Residents and emergency services are now preparing for more adverse weather to come after the Scottish Environment Protection Agency issued a flood alert for Central Scotland.

SEPA states urban areas are at an increased flood risk from surface water flooding due to the intense nature of the rain forecast to persist throughout Wednesday (yesterday) as The Falkirk Herald went to press.

For advice and information contact the SEPA Floodline on 0845 988 1188.