Storm Francis batters UK with 80mph winds as more floods expected
Storm Francis has left a trail of destruction after battering the UK with winds reaching 81mph.
Rescue teams in Cardiff are resuming searches in the River Taff this morning following reports that a man and a canoeist got into difficulty.
Trees and power lines were downed across the country as heavy rain flooded homes and submerged cars in south Wales and Northern Ireland.
The Environment Agency still has 35 flood alerts in place for England today, while there are 17 for Wales and 11 in Scotland.
But it is thought the worst of the weather is over, with the Met Office ending its yellow warnings for wind and rain.
Met Office forecaster Craig Snell said: ‘Francis has now pretty much moved off shore and it’s now just a slow gradual improvement.’
He said by the time people are up today the weather should be gradually improving, but pointed out that it will take a while longer for eastern areas to see the winds fully calm down.
The strongest gusts recorded on Tuesday was the 81mph wind that hit The Needles near the Isle of Wight at around 8pm.
This is just short of the August record for the UK which was 87mph recorded in 1996.
Lake Vyrnwy in Powys, Wales, saw gusts of 75mph, equalling the Welsh August gust record of the 75mph recorded at Milford Haven in August 1979.
The wettest place on Tuesday was Bethesda in north Wales where 101mm of rain was recorded.
Meanwhile, the fire service in Northern Ireland said 37 people were rescued from flood water.
Elderly residents had to be rescued from the County Down coastal resort town of Newcastle after a river burst its banks, and in Draperstown, Co Londonderry, rescuers had to save nine people from inside a house, along with four outside who were trying to help.
A boat was used to help residents in Newcastle, a picturesque east coast town on the edge of the Mourne Mountains.
Up to 300 homes have been affected and streets left under three or four feet of water, a local representative said.
South Wales Police said they were involved in two separate water searches from the swollen River Taff and fire crews had to rescue holidaymakers from a flooded campsite in the town of St Clears, Carmarthenshire, after river levels rose in the area.
Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said nine people and two dogs were rescued by fire service personnel using a swift rescue sledge, lines and wading gear.
Crews also gave medical treatment to one man and evacuated 30 other people from a flooded caravan site in Wiseman’s Bridge, Narberth, while 12 caravans were also removed from the site.
RAC Breakdown spokesman Rod Dennis said that, until the middle of Wednesday, drivers need to brace themselves for some ‘very unpleasant’ conditions on the roads.
‘An amber weather warning covering a swathe of western Britain means there is a real risk of disruption to journeys from flying debris such as tree branches.
‘Surface spray and perhaps some localised flooding are also possible,’ he said.
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