People who had to flee their homes because of the “unprecedented” floods caused by Storm Babet may not be able to re-enter until after Christmas. 

Rescue operations are underway in the Scottish town of Brechin, Angus, after flood defences were breached in the early hours of the morning, leading to hundreds of homes being surrounded by water.

The local council has appealed for donations of warm clothes after 40 people turned up to rest centres while “soaked”.

There is also an ongoing helicopter search in Aberdeenshire following a report of a man trapped in a vehicle in floodwater.

Parts of Brechin are now only accessible by boat and the area is said to be in a “serious emergency”.

Gavin Nicol said the town’s flood barriers are 3.8 metres high but the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has warned the water could reach 5.0 metres.

He said: “With the amount of rain we’re getting it might even supersede that.

“It’s just a disaster. The water is not going down, it is still rising.”

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