Belfast Telegraph

Communities on alert as heavy rain brings threat of more floods

Communities across the UK are on flood alert after another day of heavy rainfall.

Areas with swollen rivers and saturated ground not yet recovered from Storm Frank have been hit once more by persistent showers, with rising water levels threatening homes and disrupting travel.

A Met Office amber warning for heavy rain remains in place across large swathes of Scotland, while y ellow "be aware" warnings are in force for parts of Northern Ireland, Wales, the South West, South East and North East of England.

Towns on the banks of the River Dee in Aberdeenshire were on high alert, with residents of a care home in Aboyne evacuated as a precaution.

Abergeldie Castle, close to the Queen's residence at Balmoral, is just a few feet from the water after around 60ft of land behind the property was swept away.

Residents in Inverurie were also evacuated after flooding of the River Don.

The Scottish Environment Agency (Sepa) has more than 30 flood warnings in place and has warned people to stay away from the banks of the Tay in Perth, where the city's flood defence scheme was said to be facing its most significant test since it was built more than a decade ago.

The river was due to peak at 11pm and levels will remain high until late on Tuesday, Sepa said.

Numerous roads have been closed due to surface water and landslides, with the A83 shut at the Rest and be Thankful to allow operators to remove a boulder using explosives.

West coast rail travel between Scotland and England will be disrupted until the end of the month as work continues to repair the Lamington Viaduct near Lockerbie.

The persistent rain also threatened flooding in parts of the North East, Devon, Cornwall, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.

The Environment Agency has 26 flood warnings in place across England and Wales and t emporary flood barriers are still in place on the River Severn at Shrewsbury and Bewdley.

The latest wet weather comes as the country continues to deal with the aftermath of a series of devastating storms and floods over the past month, most recently last week's Storm Frank.

The Environment Agency, whose chairman Sir Philip Dilley was criticised for holidaying in Barbados as the country was battered by some of the worst storms in decades, said it was continuing to support communities with flood relief work.

Teams are pumping away flood water, repairing damaged defences, clearing blockages in rivers, and monitoring water levels.

In Scotland, Vincent Fitzsimons, Sepa's hydrology duty manager, said: "Rivers have been rising since Saturday and flood warnings have been issued. It's important to note that the rain is less intense but more prolonged than during Storm Frank.

''This means that rivers will rise more slowly but then stay high for much longer - from Sunday through till Tuesday."

Two people died in separate incidents in Scottish rivers when Storm Frank hit, with the body of a kayaker recovered from the River Findhorn in Moray and a canoeist drowning in the River Garry in the Highlands.

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