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Storm Callum: Parts of Wales see ‘worst flooding in 30 years’

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Media captionTwo days of heavy rain have led rivers and canals to burst their banks

Rivers have burst their banks, homes are flooded while some are without power and Wales is suffering travel chaos as Storm Callum wreaks havoc.

Parts of Wales have seen their worst flooding in 30 years with Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Powys the worst hit. Flood warnings remain in place.

One village is ready to evacuate and people have been told to stay at home.

Wales is the windiest place in the UK on Saturday with gusts of 60mph (97kmh) hitting at Milford Haven.

Capel Curig in Conwy was among the wettest places in the UK with 46.2mm (1.6ins) of rain, the wettest being Shap in Cumbria.

A Met Office amber warning to expect flooding runs until 18:00 BST while the rest of Wales is on yellow possible flooding alert until midnight.

A further two flood warnings are in place in Scotland while about 2,000 homes and businesses in England have been without power with some flood defences breached.

Two cars were also crushed near Truro in Cornwall overnight.

A number of key routes in Wales including the A470 Merthyr bypass, the A40 at Llanwrda Carmarthenshire, the M48 Severn Bridge have been closed due to flooding and high winds.

The main road A4042 between Abergavenny and Newport is shut due to flooding at Llanellen and the A5 eastbound has also been shut at Bethesda, Gwynedd due to a landslip.

Image copyright Jade Hanley
Image caption North the dog overlooks Crickhowell in Powys as the River Usk burst its banks
Image caption The Co-op store in Lampeter was taken out of action by flooding

Friday’s poor weather caused power cuts, travel chaos and damage to property across south Wales and has spilled into Saturday.

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Media captionA waterfall in Skye, Scotland, was blown backwards during Storm Callum

The flood defences in Carmarthen have been breached for the first time since they were built almost 30 years ago as the River Tawe has burst its banks.

In Aberaman, Rhondda Cynon Taff, one resident was rescued from a first floor window by fire crews on Saturday morning and other residents were evacuated as a precaution, although they were allowed to return their homes shortly after 11:00.

One entrance into Crickhowell, Powys, has been blocked off, as has Aberdulais, near Neath, where residents have been advised to leave their homes due to the high level of the River Neath.

Image copyright Tristram Davies
Image caption River levels in Carmarthen have been rising
Image copyright Michael Bolton
Image caption The River Neath is close to reaching the level of the aqueduct at Aberdulais

In Carmarthenshire, Carmarthen, Llandysul, Llanybydder have also suffered and in Lampeter, Ceredigion, the town’s Co-op store car park was flooded.

Vicki LeClerc, who lives in one of the 29 properties, said all residents stayed in their homes overnight, despite offers to transport them away, but water levels have continued to rise.

“The canal is coming over the banks,” she said.

“My piano is currently on the sofa and everything we can salvage is upstairs. We’re just going to sit and wait and see how bad it gets.”

Image caption A road into Aberdulais has been blocked by flood water
Image copyright Angharad Lewis
Image caption One of the main streets in Llanybydder, Carmarthenshire, have be hit by flooding

Public transport in Wales is struggling as there are no trains between Swansea and Carmarthen, Cardiff and Aberdare, Machynlleth and Shrewsbury and Blaenau Ffestiniog and Llandudno.

Replacement bus services are in operation on some affected routes but passengers are advised to check with Arriva Trains Wales’ website.

Arriva Trains Wales, on its last day of running the rail franchise in Wales, has told passengers: “Due to the severe disruption to train services, lack of available road transport caused by local road conditions, customers are advised not to travel as journey completion cannot be guaranteed.”

Image copyright Lowri Mair Price
Image caption Flood water runs through Talysarn, near Lampeter
Image copyright Claire Kingdon
Image caption Flood water up to a pub door in Crickhowell

The guidance follows a train getting stuck in flood water near Penrhiwceiber, Rhondda Cynon Taff, where 30 passengers had to be rescued.

Some ferry services to Ireland from Fishguard and Holyhead have also been cancelled and passengers have been advised to check before travelling.

Thousands of homes lost power due to strong winds and falling branches but engineers have worked through the night to return power to the majority of households, with the worst of the winds believed to have passed.

Amber warnings can mean:

Image copyright Frank Moore
Image caption Aberystwyth seafront on Friday afternoon
  • Spray and flooding leading to difficult driving conditions and some road closures
  • Delays and cancellations to some train and bus services are likely
  • Fast flowing or deep floodwater is likely
  • Homes and businesses could be flooded, causing damage to some buildings
  • Some communities could be cut off by flooded roads
  • Power cuts and loss of other services to some homes and businesses are likely
  • Yellow warnings are issued for less severe weather

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