Residents in Brechin may not be able to return to their homes by Christmas because of Storm Babet, a local councillor has warned.

Hundreds of people were evacuated after the River South Esk burst its banks following unprecedented rainfall.

READ MORE: Storm Babet clean-up begins in Angus and Aberdeenshire

Gavin Nicoll, the Scottish Conservative councillor for the Brechin and Edzell ward on Angus Council told the BBC's Sunday Show that the conditions in the city were grim.

“It's dry now, but there's sludge and salt everywhere," he said. “It's contaminated sludge and silt, and it'll take a fair bit of cleaning up.”

Asked how long local residents who were evacuated could expect to get back into their flooded homes, the Councillor added: “It will be [an] extensive period. It will take a fair bit of sorting, so these houses won't be ready by Christmas.”

Asked if this meant locals could face Christmas in temporary accommodation, Mr Nicol replied: “It could be yes.”

The Herald: Storm Babet has led to widespread travel disruption

Brechin’s flood defences were built seven years ago and were designed to handle river levels of 3.8m. However, levels hit 5m.

Councillor Nicoll said: “The weather conditions are changing, probably the goalposts have shifted now and we're going to have to look at new measures and ways of doing it.”

READ MORE: Up to 100 Angus homes evacuated due to Storm Babet

Speaking on the show later, Angela Constance, the Justice Secretary, who has responsibility for the emergency response said there would have to be some "frank conversations" with local government.

"With the best will in the world, the best flood defences will not give 100% protection 100% of the time.

"What we've seen with Storm Babet is over two days, two months worth of rainfall, which is exceptional.

"Although the storm has now past the impact of that will be with communities for some time.

"And of course, there's been some really tragic consequences of this storm and our thoughts or prayers continue to be with those affected."

A 57-year-old woman died on Thursday after being swept into the Water of Lee, Glen Esk, and a 56-year-old man was killed the same day after a falling tree hit a van near Forfar in Angus.