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Relief as flood warnings lifted across Scotland

All flood warnings have been removed from Scotland following days of heavy rain.

The forecast is for a mainly dry but overcast Christmas Day and it will come as a relief for communities along the east coast of the country in particular that have been hit by severe weather over the last two weeks.

Around 100 residents in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, were evacuated in the early hours of Sunday when the River Carron burst its banks and water rose to waist height.

It was the second weekend in a row the area had been hit after gale-force winds and high tides caused millions of pounds-worth of damage last weekend.

Many of those evacuated are staying with family or in temporary accommodation and the community has been donating gifts for those who will not be in their homes for Christmas.

Michael Innes, chairman of Stonehaven Community Council, told BBC Radio Scotland: "The response has been unreal: toys, clothes, bedding, biscuits - you name it and people have been donating it.

"People have actually been buying things then donating it and some have been giving the Christmas present they bought for others."

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency had 12 flood warnings in place yesterday but they have now been removed. Only two of the lesser flood alerts remain for the Borders and Tayside.

Parts of Fife were also hit by flooding over the last few days and police in the area warned motorists of black ice as water left on the roads begins to freeze.

Chris Burton, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "It will be a mainly dry day across Scotland but probably overcast with a few showers and sunny spells in the west. More persistent showers will develop overnight, but nothing too heavy and not like the rain in the last few days.

"Tomorrow night there could be a return of heavy showers but they will be mainly concentrated in the south of the country, giving more time for the worst-affected areas to recover.

"As the band of rain moves north through the night, it could turn to snow and sleet, particularly in higher parts, but not for a long spell."

Only those standing on Scotland's mountain tops will have experienced a white Christmas - good news for the country's ski resorts, which were forced to close for much of last week due to gale-force winds.

The Cairngorm resort reopened on Sunday and had around 800 visitors before closing again for Christmas Day. Management expects large numbers of skiers and snowboarders to return tomorrow and throughout this week when floodlights will be erected to extend the hours people can spend on the slopes.

Cairngorm mountain marketing manager Colin Kirkwood said: "We ran one floodlit evening session last season which was very popular with our customers so we decided to offer this again over the holidays in view of the good snow cover we have and which we expect to hold on to over this period."

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