Wales weather: Flats evacuated as storms strike

Damaged flats Image copyright Nigel Gabriel
Image caption The storm badly damaged these flats at Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan which were evacuated after part of the roof was blown off

Seventeen people have been evacuated from flats in the Vale of Glamorgan after the roof was damaged in strong winds overnight.

Fire crews were called to Rowan Court in Barry at 01:00 GMT.

Heavy rain and strong winds hit Wales on Saturday forcing more travel disruption with several roads flooded.

It comes as engineers battled to restore power to thousands of homes without electricity in mid and north Wales.

ScottishPower said it hoped to have customers reconnected by midnight.

Two flood warnings and 19 alerts have been issued by Natural Resources Wales.

As fresh storms move in, the Welsh government said it was waiting to hear if funding would be available from the UK government to help businesses.

It follow the prime minister's "no penny pinching" pledge on flood relief.

The Met Office issued a yellow "be aware" alert of downpours stretching across south, west and mid Wales on Saturday.

There could be between 5 and 10mm of rain within an hour, with the risk of localised flooding.

Two flood warnings were in place on Saturday afternoon.

  • The Lower Dee valley from Llangollen to Trevalyn Meadows (isolated properties and extensive areas of agricultural land in the Lower Dee flood plain)
  • The River Severn at Pool Quay and Trewern

Warnings for the Conwy valley and the River Wye at Monmouth were stood down.

And a yellow alert for ice is in place from Saturday evening into Sunday morning.

An alert for high winds across south and west Wales was later stood down but not before 17 people were evacuated from their flats in Barry after part of the roof was blown off in storms overnight.

Image caption Storms overnight caused further damage to the coastal road at Amroth, Pembrokeshire
Image copyright Graham Powell
Image caption The A40 was blocked at Abergavenny for a time due to a fallen tree
Image copyright James
Image caption James Roberts and his father had a lucky escape when part of a tree fell on their house

There were no reports of any injuries but the flats were said to have been been badly damaged by the wind and flooding.

Joanne Curtis, whose 86-year-old mother's flat was drenched overnight, said: "The main damage is in the two bedrooms - water coming through the ceiling.

"The bed's totally saturated. The carpet's saturated.

"It's coming through where the lights are, through the electrics, so all the electricity's turned off at the moment."

And in Cardiff, James Roberts, 25, and his father had a lucky escape when a tree hit their house.

"We were both in bed when we heard a large part of a tree crash on to our house," he said.

"We're a bit shaken, but grateful we came to no harm. We can't see any structural damage but it's too dangerous for us to go outside.

"It came crashing down from about 40 feet. We thought we were safe on a hill, but not from wind."

Bad weather also caused travel disruption on Saturday morning:

  • The M48 Severn Bridge was closed in both directions due to strong winds and an overturned lorry
  • The A40 Brecon Road was blocked for a time due to a fallen tree outside Nevill Hall hospital, Abergavenny
  • The A4042 was closed in both directions due to flooding between Monmouth Road in Abergavenny and the B4269 at Llanellen
  • The A4081 at Llandrindod Wells, Powys, was closed due to a fallen tree between Temple Street and the A470
  • The A470 at Rhayader, Powys, was closed due to a fallen tree between Church Street and the A44 at Llangurig
  • The A490 at Welshpool, Powys, was closed in both directions due to flooding between Sarn Bryn Caled roundabout and Cilcewydd Bridge
  • The A498 in Gwynedd was closed in both directions due to a fallen tree between Prenteg and Aberglaslyn
  • The A477 Cleddau Bridge in Pembrokeshire was closed in both directions to high-sided vehicles
  • Storms overnight caused further damage to the coastal road at Amroth in Pembrokeshire
  • The railway line between Newport and Hereford is blocked at Abergavenny so a limited bus replacement service is running

On Friday, it was confirmed that the storms on Wednesday had claimed the life of a Gwynedd man.

Bob Thomas, 77, died in hospital after sustaining head injuries at his home near Caernarfon.

He had been with his wife in their garden at Caeathro moving hens when a tree fell and hit him.

High winds across north and mid Wales through Friday meant work to restore power supplies to thousands of properties was hampered.

On Saturday evening ScottishPower said engineers were still working to restore power to 2,800 homes.

Earlier, Guy Jefferson, network operations director for ScottishPower, said nearly 3,000 customers were still cut off after Wednesday's storm and a further 1,000 lost power on Friday night in north Wales after "another bad night".

Image copyright Derek Phillips Photography
Image caption Saundersfoot in Pembrokeshire has been battered by waves over the past couple of days
Image caption Wet and wild work - the battle to get power back on across north and mid Wales

He told BBC Radio Wales: "There's pockets [without power] right across north Wales, but the main areas are Gwynedd, around Aberystwyth, Newtown and across to Dee valley where we have most of our customers off."

He said engineers were out at "first light" and the company hoped to restore power for most by Saturday evening, although he warned it may be a "struggle" to reconnect those who were cut off on Friday.

He apologised to customers for the inconvenience and thanked them for their patience, adding: "In one day, on Wednesday in north Wales, we had the equivalent of one year's worth of overhead line falls."

The power company has now offered to meet the cost of buying meals for those affected since Wednesday's storms.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionAmroth in Pembrokeshire suffered further damage

It said it would pay up to £30 per person a day, if they retained their receipts.

Tony Fuse in Gellilydan, near Trawsfynydd in Gwynedd, is just one of those who spent 30 hours without power.

"It was my partner's birthday you see, and there was a power cut which started at about 3:45pm on Wednesday," he explained.

"We had intended to have a takeaway and a quiet night in at home, we had arranged for the little one to go over to stay with his grandma for the evening.

"We spent ages driving around trying to find somewhere open. It was pitch black and a lot of trees had fallen down, which made driving quite tricky."

Image caption Bob Thomas died after a tree in his garden fell on him on Wednesday
Image caption Shopping by torchlight - the village shop in Cerrigydrudion, Conwy, has been without power since Wednesday

But while for some the clear up is under way, others are still counting the cost of the storms - especially businesses.

The Welsh government said it was now waiting to see whether funding would be made available by the UK government to ease that financial pain.

David Cameron has said businesses hit by the floods in England will be able to claim 100% tax relief on business rates for three months.

They will also be able to defer their tax payment.

The Welsh government will be eligible for a share of any extra funding that is released by the Treasury.

But if the money spent in England comes from the financial reserves of Whitehall departments, then Wales will not qualify for more cash.

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