Body recovered from river as UK reels from storms

London (AFP) –


The body of a kayaker who went missing during Storm Frank was recovered from a river on Thursday as Britain's battle with localised flooding stretched into the New Year.

The body of the man in his 50s was recovered from the River Findhorn in Moray, northeastern Scotland. He got into difficulties on the water around midday Wednesday.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited the town of Newton Stewart in southwest Scotland to see the damage to shops and businesses affected by flooding there.

"The impact is devastating for people, it's absolutely heart-breaking," she said.

"There's a long recovery road ahead for some of the people I've been speaking to."

Meanwhile Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, and his wife Camilla, visited locals from flood-hit Ballater, which is near Balmoral Castle, the Queen's summer residence.

Some 96 people spent the night in a barracks, having been evacuated from their homes.

Going into Friday, the Environment Agency (EA) for England and Wales had 16 flood warnings in place, meaning flooding was expected and "immediate action required".

In the historic tourist city of York, northern England, the flood barrier on the River Foss, which was knocked out by high water, has been repaired and flooding in the city has receded.

However, the city is being warned to be vigilant as the River Ouse it flows into will remain high over the coming days.

"Thankfully it is now an improving weather picture across most of the country," said EA incident management director Craig Woolhouse.

"We will continue to work closely with local authorities in the coming weeks to support their recovery efforts and still have teams working around the clock to protect communities and pump away flood water."

Earlier Thursday, the Met Office national weather service said Britain had experienced its warmest December since records began in 1910, smashing the previous high.

"The UK mean temperature (1-29 December) is a record-breaking 8.0 degrees Celsius. The previous record was 6.9 degrees Celsius in 1934," it said.