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- Environment and climate change
Amber warning for heavy rain still in place
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has attended a meeting of the Scottish Government's resilience committee today, as an amber weather warning remains in place for large parts of the country.
Steady and persistent rain is expected to fall on much of Scotland throughout the weekend and into Monday.
A Met Office Amber warning for rain is still in place for large parts of Central and North East Scotland, with some parts of Tayside, Angus and Aberdeenshire, where the ground is already saturated, potentially at risk of flooding.
Areas thought to be at risk of further flooding include Kintore, Brechin, Logie Mill, Braemar and Ballater. Agencies are currently working to ensure that these communities, and others, have the proper support in place over the weekend and beyond.
Strong south-westerly winds may also result in stormy seas and waves 'overtopping' sea walls along the east coast and the northern isles.
Clean-up and recovery work is already well underway to help communities affected by flooding following Storm Frank, including the restoration of communications and power. Engineers are working to repair damaged infrastructure, including rail lines on the West Coast and Highland Main Lines.
The Scottish Government Resilience meeting was also attended by Deputy First Minister John Swinney, Environment Minister Aileen McLeod, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure Keith Brown, Transport Minister Derek Mackay and Community Safety Minister Paul Wheelhouse.
Environment Minister Aileen McLeod said:
"Although the current weather situation does not appear to be as serious as Storm Frank, it is nevertheless a worrying time for people who live in areas at risk from flooding. We remain vigilant to the on-going risks.
"Scottish Government ministers and officials are in constant contact with emergency services and other relevant agencies. We will ensure that everything possible is done to support the affected communities and that people and businesses are as prepared as they can be.
"I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in these efforts over the last few weeks, including local authorities, emergency services and other responders. This has been an extremely difficult time for the people who have been affected, and our thoughts continue to be with these communities.
"I would encourage people to monitor SEPA's Floodline website for the latest flood information, and to sign up to receive Floodline warnings direct to their phone."
Transport Minister, Derek Mackay, said:
"This December we have seen the wettest weather on record, and unfortunately the unprecedented conditions have resulted in significant disruption to the transport network, including extensive damage to the West Coast and Highland Main Lines.
"We are currently working with the rail industry in assessing the extent of the damage, protect against further deterioration and implement a strategy for repair that will get these lines operational again as soon as possible. In the meantime, diversionary rail routes and replacement bus shuttle services have been put in place so that people can still complete their onwards journeys, which is particularly important as people go back to work next week.
"I would advise anyone travelling this weekend to check with their transport operator before setting off, proceed with extra care and to allow plenty of time for the journey. Traffic Scotland and rail operators' websites and Twitter feeds will carry the latest information."
The Scottish Government's resilience arrangements have been running 24/7 and will continue to provide Ministers with regular updates.
For SEPA live flood updates see www.sepa.org.uk/floodupdates or call Floodline 0345 988 1188.
To sign up for free local Flood Warnings and regional Alerts, or for more information and advice on preparing for flooding, use SEPA's Floodline site www.floodlinescotland.org.uk or call Floodline 0345 988 1188.
Members of the public can also use the recently launched Report-a-Flood site http://www.floodlinescotland.org.uk/report-a-flood
The full alerts, including the Chief Forecaster's Assessment and a map showing the areas included in the alerts, are available at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/warnings/
For real time journey information visit www.trafficscotland.org, follow @trafficscotland on Twitter or call 0800 028 14 14.
The Scottish Government's Ready Scotland website provides the public with a range of advice and information on preparing for winter weather. Further information is available at www.readyscotland.org
Members of the public can also contact the Scottish Flood Forum, a charitable organisation funded by the Scottish Government that provides support for and represents those who are affected by or are at risk of flooding http://www.scottishfloodforum.org or call 01698 839021.