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Storm Barra causes more chaos in the wake of Storm Arwen

·4-min read

The UK was pounded by strong wind and heavy rain overnight as Storm Barra swept through from the west, felling trees and leaving some areas without power.

Counties in the south-west of England and in Wales remain under a yellow weather warning until 6pm on Wednesday, meaning residents face delays to transport and the risk of power outages.

Bryngwyn Comprehensive School in Llanelli, Wales, has been forced to shut temporarily after gusts of more than 70mph ripped part of its roof off on Tuesday evening.

Strong conditions at the seafront
A person makes their way along the sea front in Southsea (Andrew Matthews/PA)

No-one was injured as most people had left the premises, the school said, although Dyfed-Powys Police were called to the scene to deal with debris that had been blown onto a nearby road.

Wind speeds of 86mph were recorded in Aberdaron, Gwynedd, just a week after a 81mph gust was recorded in Aberporth, Ceredigion, during Storm Arwen.

Coastal communities were warned to take care when walking close to piers and harbours, with huge waves hitting seaside towns in Dorset, Devon and Cornwall.

The waves were so large in the village of Borth in Ceredigion, mid-Wales, that locals were asked to avoid the area completely.

Hyder Ali Pirwany, of Oakehampton in Devon, filmed a hailstorm that hit overnight, leaving the streets carpeted in white.

He told the PA news agency: “(There was) thunder and lightning at first, followed by heavy sleet and hail which piled up like snow.

“It knocked out my television and FM radio reception – it is back now almost 12 hours later.”

Mr Pirwany said that the hail was still falling by 10.30am on Wednesday, but not as heavily as in the night.

Meanwhile, those brave enough to tackle the surf have been advised to stay out of the water, with heavy rainfall seeing sewage overflows tipping waste water directly into the ocean.

Environmental charity Surfers Against Sewage shows pollution risk warnings across the south coast, south-west coast and Welsh coast on its interactive map.

In the north of Scotland, 1,000 properties were without power in the wake of the storm as of 8am – just days after the final homes were reconnected after Storm Arwen hit late last month.

More rain is forecast in some areas on Wednesday and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has issued 11 flood alerts and three flood warnings.

ScotRail has warned that some Wednesday services will be cancelled due to the storm.

The Environment Agency has five flood warnings in place, all of them in the south-west of England, with a further 37 flood alerts, meaning flooding is possible.

Natural Resources Wales has issued two flood warnings and nine flood alerts.

Temperatures will be mild for the time of year on Wednesday, with London predicted to see 7C, 8C in Cardiff, 4C for Edinburgh and 6C in Belfast.

Met Office spokeswoman Nikki Maxey said meteorologists were not expecting Storm Barra to cause as much chaos as Storm Arwen.

“It is unlikely to be as impactful as Storm Arwen last week but there will be blustery conditions so people should still be prepared,” she said.

Power has only just been restored to the last of the homes in the north-east of England that were cut off by Arwen.

A fallen tree
A fallen tree blocks the A702 near Coulter in South Lanarkshire on Tuesday (Jane Barlow/PA)

Northern Powergrid said on Tuesday it had reconnected 240,000 homes and businesses, calling the storm “the worst in over 20 years”.

The energy network said in a statement: “We’re sorry that we couldn’t get it done quicker, because we know that it has been very difficult for our customers to be without power for such a long time.”

It added: “This experience has taught us that there are areas where we need to improve. In particular, in the way we use our systems to communicate with you in the event of major power cuts.

“We have already made some changes and will learn more lessons from the reviews that will follow.”

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