Clear-up begins after 100mph storms hit Wales

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Media captionThe roof was ripped off Porthmadog railway station

Work is under way to clear up debris, fallen trees and other damage caused by 100mph winds that battered Wales.

About 29,600 homes across north and west Wales remain without power after Wednesday's storm saw gusts of 108mph.

Some schools remain shut while disruption on the roads and railways is expected to continue with trees blocking routes.

People living in north Wales have been urged not travel or venture out unless absolutely necessary.

  • In north Wales, schools were closed in Wrexham, Gwynedd, Anglesey and Flintshire
  • At least four schools were closed in Ceredigion
  • Nine schools in Pembrokeshire were shut
  • At the storm's height, 90,000 homes were without power
  • More heavy rain is expected on Friday, and three flood warnings and nine flood alerts are in place
  • ScottishPower said 22,600 homes across north Wales were without power, down from 52,000 at the height of the storm
  • Western Power Distribution said it had 7,000 customers "off supply", mainly in west Wales, from Swansea to Haverfordwest
  • Irish Ferries said all its Swift sailings were cancelled on Thursday due to the adverse weather conditions
  • Stena Line said its Fishguard to Rosslare ferry service will resume with the 14:30 GMT sailing on Thursday. The 02:45 GMT sailing was cancelled
  • North Wales Police said its advice remained that people should not travel or venture out unless absolutely necessary
  • Gritters were out in Carmarthenshire after ice warnings
  • Council staff in Pembrokeshire worked through the night clearing trees and debris
  • Welsh Water said 250 staff worked through the night to limit disruption to supplies caused by power outages
  • Swansea coastguard received a report of a porpoise washed ashore on Aberavon Beach but a big surge took it back out to sea

North Wales Police said a multi-agency response that had been in place to deal with the consequences of the severe weather was stood down as conditions eased but felled trees blocking roads continued to hamper ScottishPower teams working to restore lost supplies.

Ch Insp Darren Wareing said: "Our efforts are focused onto clearing roads, restoring power and returning the area to normality as quickly but as safely as possible.

"I would still advise extra care to be taken if any journey needs to be made on foot due to roofing materials dislodged by high winds."

He appealed to road users to consider delaying their journeys, especially lorries heading for the ferries from Holyhead to Ireland.

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Media captionCarwyn Jones paid tribute to power engineers' response to the storm

North Wales Police said it received 230 emergency 999 calls between 17:00 GMT and 18:00 GMT. It tweeted: "Busier than on New Year's Eve. T/you for your patience."

The region's fire and rescue service said it dealt with more than 240 calls between 14:00 GMT and 07:00 GMT on Thursday.

It said normally "would have expected to have dealt with a fraction of this number".

A statement said: "The types of incidents attended included over turned lorries, road traffic collisions, flooding and numerous dangerous structures around north Wales, as well as wind turbine fires on Anglesey."

On Thursday, conditions were calmer but forecasters have warned that bad weather is expected to return on Friday.

"We will see some brightness and showers. It's a brief respite. Gradually the showers will clear away in the night and dry with lighter winds," said a BBC Wales weather presenter.

"We've got more wet and windy conditions heading our way through Friday. It will start off on a dry note, we will see wet weather spilling up from the south and with it comes very strong winds.

"At the moment there is the warning for the rain so we could see further flooding as we go through Friday and the rain will continue into Saturday."

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Media captionRobert Szabo took his camera to Swansea's seafront

A yellow "be aware" warning for wind across Wales and a similar warning for ice in south east Wales was in place on Thursday morning.

The red "take action" warning for wind that was in force on Wednesday was stood down at around 21:00 GMT after the hurricane-force winds eased.

Image copyright Mark Kendall
Image caption The winds whipped up sand from the beach and affected visibility in Aberdovey, Gwynedd
Image copyright Martin pritchard
Image caption The roof at Porthmadog station was damaged by the strong winds
Image copyright Lloyd Williams
Image caption Porthcawl's lighthouse took another battering from strong waves
Image copyright Liana Couzens
Image caption Rhydhelig Avenue in Cardiff is a main route to the University Hospital of Wales, which is used by ambulances
Image caption Repairs are made to Wrexham's Racecourse Stadium roof after debris fell on to the road
Image caption Part of the Felinheli bypass in Gwynedd was used as a lorry park overnight for high sided vehicles

Meanwhile, First Minister Carwyn Jones said: "We coped very well. The warning was there."

He told BBC Radio Wales: "Despite the warning there was still a lot of damage. It may seem an odd thing to say but it could have been worse.

"Fortunately nobody was killed although there were some injuries.

"The big challenge now is to reconnect people to the power supplies as quickly as possible."

At the height of the storm, military help was offered but not taken up.

Mr Jones has said it was not yet clear whether Wales could receive additional funds from the UK government to help with the clear-up although the prime minister has said extra money would be set aside to help affected communities.

The first minister said: "If they say they are finding the money within departments we won't get any of it.

"If the money is coming from the Treasury we will get a share of it, but at the moment it is not clear from where the money will be found."

The issue of funding was discussed during last night's meeting of the UK government's emergency committee known as Cobra.

It emerged that ministers are investigating whether it can access EU money and former Welsh secretary Cheryl Gillan has called on ministers to ensure Wales gets a share.

Image copyright Tom upton
Image caption Sand is blown across Mumbles Road and beyond during strong winds in Swansea
Image caption St Catherine's Island in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, was battered by the storm
Image copyright @fyitalgarth
Image caption Wind and rain caused flooding in Talgarth, Powys

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