Stormy start to 2014 brings road and rail delays

A flooded railway line just south of Aberdare
Image caption A railway line was flooded earlier this week just south of Aberdare

Heavy rain and strong winds are disrupting road and rail travel in south and west Wales on New Year's Day, with warnings of more storms to come.

Five flood warnings are in force, including two in Carmarthenshire, and almost 30 flood alerts.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has urged people in coastal areas to be prepared for high tides to bring localised flooding in the next few days.

It warned people not to walk or drive too close to the seafront.

One lane is closed on the M48 Severn Bridge while speed restrictions are in place on the M4 Briton Ferry Bridge.

Flooding hit trains at Narberth, Pembrokeshire, and between Newport and Hereford.

A Met Office 'be aware' warning of rain is in place for much of south Wales on New Year's Day.

Along with the rain, gusts of 50-60mph were expected to cause further problems.

  • Arriva Trains Wales said flooding near Abergavenny led to problems with trains unable to run between Newport and Hereford, with replacement buses operating. Flooding at Narberth in Pembrokeshire meant trains were unable to run between Pembroke Dock and Whitland.
  • Mid and West Wales Fire were called to flooding at Trefasser in Pembrokeshire, at Cwmgors in Neath and Port Talbot and a basement in Upper Brynamman in Carmarthenshire.
  • Traffic Wales reported flooding on the A40 at Llandeilo and Narberth, the A470 at Libanus in Powys, the A4067 at Pontardawe and A4042 at Llanellen in Monmouthshire - but the roads were passable with care.
  • A boulder fell onto the A466 blocking the road at St Arvans, Monmouthshire.
  • One lane of the M48 Severn Bridge has been closed with a 40 mph speed restriction operating there, and also on the M4 Briton Ferry bridge near Swansea.
  • Newport County's League Two match with Oxford United was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

The Met Office said the rain would spread north quickly on Wednesday with rainfall totals expected to be 10-20mm, but as much as 30-40mm over some south-facing coasts and hills.

With the ground already saturated, this could lead to further localised flooding.

The yellow weather warning includes most of south Wales, although the Met Office said there were still "some uncertainties in the detail" and people were advised to continue to watch for further updates.

Image caption Localised flooding and fallen trees affected travellers on Monday

NRW said the rain was likely to be heaviest across south, mid and west Wales but most of Wales' coastline was set to be affected until the weekend.

It said: "The effects are likely to be worst with the high tides from Thursday evening through to Saturday, with tidal surges and large waves potentially causing localised flooding.

"This is likely to lead to a large number of coastal flood warnings and further flood alerts being issued across the Welsh coastline.

"People living near the coast should be prepared, and should be careful not to walk or drive too close to the coast during high tide."

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Media captionBBC Wales weather presenter Sue Charles looks ahead

NRW said officers were monitoring rivers to try to prevent debris creating blockages that could lead to flooding.

Sea defences are also being checked ahead of high tides later this week.

In Aberystwyth, police arrested an early morning swimmer who sparked a rescue alert after getting into difficulties moments after he tried to swim in 15ft (4.5m) waves.

On Monday there was travel disruption across Wales as trees came down in high winds, and localised flooding closed roads and railway lines.

Gales on Boxing Day led to thousands of people being left without electricity, with Anglesey and Gwynedd hardest hit.

ScottishPower had reconnected more than 20,000 properties by Saturday evening, while others did not get their power back until Sunday.

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