Wales weather: 70mph wind and flood alerts in southern parts

Caroline Evans sees preparations at Western Power Distribution

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Winds of up to 70mph are forecast for south Wales coasts later on Friday with more wet weather due at the weekend.

The Met Office has issued an amber "be prepared" warning for strong winds with a yellow "be aware" rain warning in place until Saturday.

Natural Resources Wales has also issued a number of flood alerts.

Irish Ferries have cancelled some sailings on the Rosslare/Pembroke route starting from 20:45 GMT on Friday.

The cancellations come as thousands of Wales rugby fans are travelling to Dublin for the Six Nations clash against Ireland on Saturday.

The firm's Holyhead to Dublin ferries are expected to operate normally on Friday and Saturday although Saturday's Swift sailings have been cancelled.

The Met Office amber warning for strong winds applies to eight counties - Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Swansea, Bridgend, Neath Port Talbot, Vale of Glamorgan, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Cardiff.

It warns of gusts of up to 60mph-70mph (95kmph-110kmph) on some coasts, reaching 80mph (130 kmph) at the most exposed places.

A yellow or "be aware" wind warning is also in place for Caerphilly, Newport, Monmouthshire, Torfaen, Merthyr Tydfil and Blaenau Gwent.

Coastal gales

A yellow rain warning is also in place for all 14 counties as well as Ceredigion and Powys until late on Saturday.

A band of rain, heavy at times, accompanied by coastal gales is expected during Friday evening, followed by frequent heavy and squally showers as it moves east across the UK on Saturday.

Waves at Langland Bay, Swansea The Met Office warns that large waves will again be a feature of the weekend's stormy weather

Transport and power supplies are likely to be disrupted, particularly when combined with the impacts of heavy rain.

BBC Wales meteorologist Derek Brockway said: "The record-breaking wet winter looks set to continue."

He said there was a further a risk of flooding in Pembrokeshire on Saturday due to strong onshore winds as "big waves are expected", although tides this weekend will not be as high as they have been lately.

"We've had the windiest December since 1969, followed by the wettest January in Wales for 40 years," he said.

Track repairs

Meanwhile, Network Rail has announced plans to improve the "resilience" of coastal rail lines in Wales due to "extreme weather and changing climate".

A section of the Cambrian Line between Machynlleth in Powys and Barmouth, Gwynedd, which was damaged in a storm surge in January is expected to reopen on Monday.

Another section of damaged line from Barmouth to Pwllheli in Gwynedd is not due to re-open until mid-May.

Network Rail said the final cost of the flood repair works on the Cambrian rail line is estimated to be £10m.

Storm damage in Deganwy Storm damage in Deganwy, Conwy county, on Thursday afternoon

Severe damage was also caused to the railway at Ferryside in Carmarthenshire and Mostyn in Flintshire in the January storms.

Work has involved removing thousands of tonnes of debris, replacing sea walls and other sea defences, and relaying new track and ballast.

Network Rail Wales route managing director Mark Langman said it launched its Coastal Asset Management Plan in Wales last May to "mitigate the impact of extreme weather and changing climate on coastal routes".

The company said it is aimed at "boosting rail resilience using data based on increased frequency of severe weather and rising sea level predictions to focus on assets requiring investment to ensure the safety of the railway".

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