ONE of Scotland’s most famous theatres was flooded today after a fortnight’s rain fell in Edinburgh in just three hours.
The inside of the Usher Hall was left six inches deep in water after hailstones, thunder and lightning affected many parts of the city.
Fire crews attended the historic International Festival venue just after 3pm this afternoon, putting the evening’s classical music performance in doubt.
A spokesman at the Met Office said they were expecting up to 40mm of rain to fall in parts of Edinburgh over three hours – just below the 50mm that had fallen in the first two weeks of August.
The average rainfall in Edinburgh for August is 80-100mm.
He said: “We would expect the rainfall in some parts of Edinburgh to rise to 30-40mm within three hours.”
Minutes after the most intense rainfall, a spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade said they had already received calls from concerned members of the public.
Three appliances attended the flooding incident at the Usher Hall, with one source claiming the entire Box Office system had shut down.
A concert featuring world-renowned countertenor David Daniels, with tickets costing up to £45, is due to take place at the venue this evening, but a spokeswoman for the Fire Brigade said she was not sure it would go ahead.
She said: “We have one appliance in attendance at the Usher Hall. They have got six inches of water within the stalls. I know that they have a show on this evening and I’m not sure if that will be cancelled.
“We have are using a submersible pump to remove water from the building and two other appliances are on route.”
Flooding and deep surface water caused delays for motorists in Edinburgh city centre, with incidents reported at the Cowgate, Princes Street at Castle Street, Slateford Road at Allan Park and the City Bypass between Calder and Baberton.
Bus routes were also affected, causing severe congestions in some parts of Edinburgh.
Locals were left stunned by the downpour.
Student Steven Wilson, 16, said: “For once I’m glad I was in school – I would hate to have been caught in that.”
Craig Bradshaw, 25, researcher in a law firm, said: “I had to dive in and get an emergency umbrella.
“My office is right next to the castle and it disappeared from view because of the haze from the rain.
“A bit of notice from Mr Weatherman would’ve been nice.”
Twitter users posted amazing snaps of the clouds rolling in over the city’s Wester Hailes area and of lightning strikes.
One tourist, Adam Lee, from New York, said: “Made it to our hotel in Edinburgh. Drenching rain persuaded us to take a cab the two blocks from Waverley station rather than walk.”
Another Twitter user, Lee Smith, added: “Just left Edinburgh Princes Street went from road to river in about 5 mins. Rain, thunder and lightening along with hail stones.”
Jackie Gallacher said: “Not sure I liked Edinburgh’s attempt of a pavement and road paddling pool complete with a sound and light show earlier #mental”
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency issued warnings for Wednesday and Thursday morning, saying heavy rain could lead to localised flooding.