Fire May Have Been Caused By Lightning

A lightning strike set the roof of a house ablaze as thunder storms swept much of Scotland, causing flash flooding in places.

Thirty firefighters were called to a four-story block in Greenock, Inverclyde, this evening after a bolt of lightning engulfed the roof in flames. 

Dozens of residents were evacuated from Heritage Court on Campbell Street and from nearby flats when the large fire broke out just after 6pm. 

Torrential rain also caused flooding in the town, leaving a motorist trapped in water on Brougham Street. 

The Scottish Fire and Rescue said crews were able to push the vehicle and driver to safety shortly before 6pm. Crews in the Greenock and Port Glasgow areas received 23 calls to flooded roads and gardens before the storm passed and the water receded later this evening. 

Rainfall estimates suggest that up to 20mm has fallen today in Glasgow and the west and southern parts of Argyll and Bute. 

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has ``be prepared'' notices in place across much of the country. 

Roddie Keith from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: ``Our crews from Greenock, Port Glasgow and the surrounding area were fantastic and worked hard to provide much needed assistance, moving from one incident to the next without stopping for breath. 

``To have a significant fire in the town at the same time as multiple flooding incidents was unusual, but proved that the SFRS provides the communities of Scotland with a robust and resilient operational response, even in the most challenging of circumstances.'' 

In Glasgow, the newly-refurbished Tollcross International Swimming Centre was forced shut because of problems with the building's rainwater system. 

The centre will host swimming events during next summer's Commonwealth Games. 

A spokesman for operators Glasgow Life said: ``Tollcross International Swimming Centre has been forced to close as a result of today's adverse weather conditions and an issue with the building's rainwater system. 

``Glasgow Life is working with architects and contractors to rectify this and the facility will reopen as soon as possible. We apologise for any disruption to customers.'' 

Road maintenance firm BEAR Scotland has postponed resurfacing works on the southbound M9 due to take place at the weekend because of the wet forecast. 

The work on the stretch between junction 9 (Bannockburn) and junction 8 (Hill of Kinnaird) will be carried out at a later date. 

MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said 18mm of rain was recorded in Drumnadrochit in the Highlands between 7am and 7pm today. 

Islay received 16mm and 14mm fell on Prestwick in Ayrshire. Forecaster Billy Payne said: ``The rain band is moving north and breaking up with heavy thundery showers across southern and central Scotland. 

``There have been a few lightning strikes in the Glasgow area and it's possible that 20mm of rain has fallen locally since daylight began.''