Rescue operations are underway as “freak” Storm Frank continues to batter Ireland and the UK. The weather system, which stands among the strongest that the northern Atlantic has seen, unleashed tornados around Dallas, hit Iceland with a massive snowstorm, and stirred up floods in its wake.
In southwest Scotland, about a dozen people were trapped on a bus that was half submerged by floodwater. Police confirmed that 10 people were pulled out and taken to hospital. Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue, the Royal Navy, and the Coastguard all came together to make the rescue possible.
To the northwest, the small town of Ballater, Scotland, has been completely flooded by the River Dee. Those who did not evacuate in time were pulled out by helicopter.
The first priority will remain keeping human lives safe in many parts of the country, until the floods abate.
But when the waters clear, there will be a massive infrastructure mess left behind that still needs cleaning up.
Roads and bridges have been swept away.
Homes and businesses have been flooded.
And the governance structures in place to deal with the fallout are about as broken as the river-swept bridges. In England, different authorities are responsible for the cleanup depending on whether the floods were caused by large river, a small river, a ditch, groundwater, or heavy rain.
Where governments will fail, though, humans tend to find a way. Across the region communities have banded together to keep each other safe, warm, and dry.
Among those who came out to fill sandbags in Rochdale, England, were Syrian refugees who said they wanted to repay the kindnesses shown to them by their new neighbors.
Be good to each other out there. And stay safe.