RESIDENTS evacuated from a flood-hit Scottish town may not be able to return to their homes by Christmas, a local councillor has said.

Brechin, in Angus, saw major damage as a result of Storm Babet earlier this week, with hundreds of people evacuated from homes as the River South Esk burst its banks, flooding several streets.

Residents said the flooding had been “devastating” for the town.

READ MORE: Robert Jenrick leaves presenter in disbelief in BBC interview

And now, a local councillor told the BBC Sunday Show that those evacuated residents could be out of their homes until past the festive period while authorities attempt to fix the damage.

Gavin Nicoll, Scottish Tory councillor for the Brechin and Edzell ward, told the BBC that flood defences in the area failed because the weather conditions are changing.

Asked for an update on the conditions in the town, Nicoll said: “It's dry now, but there's sludge and salt everywhere.

“It's contaminated sludge and silt, and it'll take a fair bit of cleaning up.”

The National:

Asked if he knew the extent of the damage, Nicoll said he was unsure but added it would likely be “extensive”.

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

Probed if this meant locals could face Christmas in temporary accommodation, he replied: “It could be yes.”

Brechin’s flood defences were designed to deal with river levels of 3.8 metres, but were swept away by the storm on Friday.

READ MORE: 'Scotland could have more referendums on big issues after independence'

On Saturday, a local company placed large sandbags on an area of the river wall in Brechin which had been swept away in an effort to shore up River Street and prevent further flooding.

The defences for the River South Esk were built seven years ago and described at the time as keeping locals “safe for generations”, Martin Geissler put to the local councillor, pointing to the fact they had clearly failed in the face of Storm Babet.

Asked what this tells us, Nicoll said: “The weather conditions are changing, probably the goalposts have shifted now and we're gonna have to look at new measures and ways of doing it.”

The storm led to two deaths north of the border and searches continue for a man reported missing to police on Friday, who is said to have been trapped in a vehicle in floodwater in Marykirk, Aberdeenshire.

The National:

ScotRail said the majority of its services will be able to run as normal on Sunday, but a number of lines, including Aberdeen to Dundee and Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh, remain closed.

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.

Angus and Aberdeenshire were badly hit by the storm and teams will be clearing debris from roads in the region and assessing damage to bridges.

The red and yellow weather warnings covering Dundee and the north-east of Scotland have expired and conditions are expected to improve on Sunday.

READ MORE: Former Israeli PM says BBC is 'taking sides' in tense exchange

A number of flood warnings remain in place around Scotland, but more of these are expected to be removed later in the day.

On Saturday, the Scottish Government’s Resilience Room met to discuss the “exceptional” levels of rain that had fallen in parts of Scotland during the weekend.

The meeting, chaired by Justice Secretary Angela Constance, heard parts of Scotland are still dealing with the severe flooding caused by Storm Babet while some rivers remain at hazardous levels.

The National: Angela Constance

Constance (above) said: “Storm Babet’s exceptional level of rain has severely affected parts of Scotland.

“Tragically, the storm has led to lives being lost and I send my sincere condolences to the families affected.

“The storm has caused significant damage and, while flooding is still occurring, it is not expected to be as serious as over the last 24 hours. The impact, however, will be felt in communities for some time to come.”