Search resumes for woman ‘swept away’ by river

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The River Don on Saturday after bursting its banks the previous day

A search for a woman who is believed to have fallen into the River Don during Friday’s weather warning is continuing.

Police resumed the search at first light on Saturday after it was stood down overnight.

Emergency services were called to the river near Monymusk in Aberdeenshire on Friday afternoon after a report of someone in difficulty.

Police said conditions were still challenging and encouraged people to stay away.

It is thought the woman was attempting to rescue a dog at the time.

Insp Rory Campbell said: “Officers, along with colleagues from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and the Coastguard, have resumed searches in the area where the woman was last seen.

“Conditions are tricky and dangerous and I am appealing to members of the public to stay away from flooded areas. Please be careful when you are out and about.”

The Scottish government’s resilience committee met again on Saturday to make sure communities were supported after plans were activated on Friday.

Disruption from the heavy rain in parts of Scotland was expected to continue throughout Saturday.

Pascal Lardet from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa), said the event was similar in magnitude to 2016’s Storm Frank, with record high river flows which are now receding.

“In the South Esk at Brechin we saw the highest river level on record,” he said.

“With the area’s new flood protection scheme significantly reducing the impact of fast-flowing water and on the River Dee at Ballater, we saw the second highest river level recorded.

“Whilst today we’re seeing an improving picture, a number of regional alerts and local flood warnings remain in force which we’ll review across the day. We’re grateful to families, communities, businesses and partners who have responded with resilience.”

By Saturday afternoon, Sepa had 16 ongoing flood warnings and four flood alerts.

More rain is forecast and the Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning from 03:00 on Sunday until 15:00.

The weather authority said further heavy rain could bring renewed flooding and disruption to north east Scotland.

The most rainfall fell in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire. Between 06:00 on Wed and 04:00 on Saturday it received 127.6mm – almost 150% of the November average of 86.49mm.

Angus Council’s animal welfare officer worked with police mountain rescue officers and volunteers from Tayside Mountain Rescue Team to save sheep trapped in flood water near Forfar.

The clean-up operation in the affected areas is under way and community rest centres remain open for those who need somewhere to shelter.

Transport is still affected and ScotRail said: “Following the extreme rainfall over the past few days, we’re working to inspect and reopen the routes which were closed yesterday as quickly as we can.”

Repairs to the East Coast Main Line – which was closed on Friday afternoon – meant cross-border services could resume on Saturday.

The line between Dundee and Aberdeen opened just before 14:00 after flooding at several locations.

The Met Office lifted its amber weather alert at 21:00 on Friday, after disruption saw many roads rendered impassable.

Traffic Scotland said there were restrictions on the M9 westbound between junctions two and three due to flooding.

After chairing a second meeting of the resilience committee on Saturday, justice secretary and lead minister for resilience, Keith Brown, thanked local resilience partners and the emergency services for their ongoing work.

An ambulance was trapped in flood water in Brechin

He said: “Although the situation appears to be improving, we still have flood warnings in place so please take extra care if you are out and about and do not attempt to walk or drive through flood water.

“The conditions continue to cause some disruption to the transport network – so it’s important people plan their journeys before they set off – particularly if they are looking to use the trunk roads or travel by rail.

“The Scottish government’s resilience arrangements remain activated to ensure appropriate measures are in place, and we will continue to monitor the situation over the course of the weekend.

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