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EDITIONS
Sunday, 27 October, 2002, 18:19 GMT
Storms claim driver's life
Caravan at Clarach Bay, near Aberystwyth
A caravan was destroyed when a roof blew onto it
A middle-aged driver has been killed on a road near Brecon in mid Wales by a branch which fell onto his car at the height of storms ripping across Wales.

The A40 at Bwlch, just east of the town, was blocked for two hours as emergency services struggled to free the man, who was trapped in his car and seriously injured.

But he died just after 0930GMT before crews were able to get him out.
Fallen tree in road
Fallen trees have blocked roads across Wales

The man has not yet been named by police.

Up to 90,000 homes in across Wales have been left without power by the gale-force winds which have swept the country.

Power lines have been hit by falling trees brought down by gusts of up to 100mph.

People are being advised to stay indoors and not go out unless it is absolutely necessary, and to take extreme care.

Train services have been hit by the weather - there is disruption on the south Wales to Paddington line, with some services terminating in Bristol or Cardiff.

There are no trains running to on the Cardiff to Manchester route via Hereford, and services operated by Central Trains have been suspended.

Both branches of the Cambrian Line are blocked, between Shrewsbury and Aberystwyth at Welshpool, and between Machynlleth and Pwllheli at Barmouth Bridge.

Severn Bridge
The Severn Bridge was closed by high winds
Wales and Borders Trains is advising its passengers not to travel today.

In Cardiff, roads in the centre of the city have been shut after panels on the upper floors of the BT building near the Millennium Stadium blew off - police are warning the public to stay away from the area.

The old Severn Bridge on the M48 has been closed, but the Second Severn Crossing is now working normally after an earlier restriction keep traffic down to one lane.

Race cancelled

A family of five had a lucky escape when a large tree fell onto their static caraven at the Garreg Goch caravan park at Morfa Bychan near Porthmadog early on Sunday morning.

The family, who were all in the bedroom, were not injured by the damage. And coastguards in Holyhead said they were dealing with constant gusts of more than 80mph - but some readings have been "off the scale".

Ferry sailings to Ireland have been disrupted because of the extreme weather - the 1345GMT and 1515GMT superferry services are cancelled and the HSS sailing at 1855GMT is also doutbful.

Some residents in Gwynedd are also reporting power failures as the storm moves northwards.

The National Trust Snowdonia Marathon has been cancelled for the first time in its 21-year history because of the weather.

Organisers took the decision just after 0630GMT to ensure the safety of the entrants.

More than 1,000 runners from Britain and beyond had registered for the race, reputed to be the toughest in Europe.

Flood alert

In Aberystwyth, the roof blew off a swimming pool at a caravan site on Clarach Bay and crashed into a caravan, completely destroying it.

Fortunately, the family had left for home on Saturday.

People in the caravan immediately next to the ruined one spoke of hearing a massive crash, before windows in their van were shattered by wreckage from the crash.

Dawn Corbett
Dawn Corbett was next door to the ruined van
Dawn Corbett, from Telford, had her five children in the caravan with her.

"The roof landed on the caravan next door. I've never seen anything like it," she told the BBC.

"I just want to take my children home. I was very frightened by it."

The Environment Agency issued a flood watch for the Clarach Bay region, and said waves were expected to surmount sea defences close to the caravan park.

Properties lining the seafront in Aberystwyth itself were also at risk from high tides, and the agency was warning people to be prepared to take action.

It also issued a warning for Llantwit Major beach in the south.

But an earlier warning in force for the Pembrokeshire coast has been lifted.

At Cardiff airport, arriving flights were being diverted to nearby Bristol airport because of the winds.

But the new bmibaby service from Cardiff launched today managed to send two flights on their way to Malaga and Alicante, although there were delays before they could leave.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Wales' Sian Lloyd
"Emergency services have been inundated with calls."
The BBC's Nicola Dann
"In Porthmadog a family of five escaped almost certain death by inches"
See also:

27 Oct 02 | UK
22 Oct 02 | UK
15 Oct 02 | Wales
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