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EDITIONS
Monday, 28 October, 2002, 07:50 GMT
Thousands without power after storms
Tree lays on ground at Severn Bridge near Bristol
Strong gales buffeted the Severn Bridge
Around 65,000 homes in Wales are still without electricity as an operation begins to clean up damage left by weekend gales.

Gusts of more than 90mph buffeted the country on Saturday night and Sunday, causing destruction in parts and claiming the life of one man.

At Cardiff International Airport, four light aircraft were dramatically flipped over by the winds and flights were cancelled.

Electricity power lines were brought down by falling trees and repair efforts were hampered by the severity of the weather and the clocks going back to GMT on Sunday.

Flooded roads
Drivers were warned to take extreme care
That means virtually all affected homes are still without electricity.

About 15,000 properties in the south and west of the country should be back to normal later Monday, power provider Western Power Distribution said.

Meanwhile, 50,000 Manweb Scottish Power customers in mid and north Wales must wait longer.

"We are going to have a very busy day today," Scottish Power maintenance manager Alun Laird told BBC Radio Wales.

"We are setting up for a major repair operation. We are bringing in staff from across the country and will have repair teams working right through the day."

The firm was handling 1,500 separate reports, he said.

Several callers to the BBC complained of the slow pace of repairs and call centre service.

One customer left without electricity for more than 26 hours said her provider's call centre was unable to comprehend Welsh place names.

Flood warnings

The weather eased Sunday night and Monday morning.

Five Environment Agency flood watches and five flood warnings remained in place Monday morning, while six more river given the all clear.

Gales had wreaked havoc right across north west Europe through the weekend - with at least 21 people killed as high winds left a trail of destruction.

Mumbles at Swansea had clocked Wales' highest wind at 96mph.

  • A middle-aged man driving on the A40 the near Brecon was killed when a branch which fell onto his car at the height of storms ripping across Wales.

  • In Wrexham, Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog school is shut after power cables fell on to a mobile classroom.

  • Near Conwy, Ysgol Dolwyddelan is closed due to a power cut at the village of Dolwyddelan.
  • The old Severn Bridge on the M48 was shut as gales rushed in from the Bristol Channel.

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

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

  • North Wales Police said 400 trees were felled ni central parts of the region.

  • Light aeroplanes at Cardiff International Airport were turned over and pushed around while planes at airports around the UK were grounded, stranding thousands of passengers.

  • A caravan was blown on to a railway line near Aberystwyth.

  • A family at another caravan at Garreg Goch caravan park near Porthmadog said it was lucky to escape after a tree crashed onto their adjacent van as it slept.

  • First Great Western and Wales & Borders train services have been disrupted, delayed or cancelled Monday morning.

    The BBC Weather Centre said Monday would be much better, with most areas of Britain having sunny spells.

    Showers are likely, mainly over western and northern areas, and it will be wintry over high ground in the north.

    E-mail BBC News Online to share your experiences and frustrations after Wales' weekend gales.

    Have your say

    After 36 hours without electricity, I would like the opportunity to actually speak to someone at Manweb about it, instead of only getting a prerecorded message. Will the contents of my freezer be salvagable, will the electricity be reconnected by tonight, or will it be another night with candles? Some indication of timescales would be appreciated. At least I can come to work today to get some heat and send this
    Gillian Anderson, north Wales

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  •  WATCH/LISTEN
     ON THIS STORY
    Caravan owner
    "Glass shattered absolutely everywhere"
    Alan Laird, Manweb
    "We are going to have a very busy day"
    Jackie Wykes, Ystradgynlais
    "I was flaming"
    See also:

    28 Oct 02 | Business
    27 Oct 02 | England
    28 Oct 02 | Wales
    26 Oct 02 | UK
    22 Oct 02 | Scotland
    22 Oct 02 | N Ireland
    08 Sep 02 | Scotland
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