By Alex Daud Briggs
Throughout last week, Storm Ciara ravaged through Wales as well as the rest of the UK, causing wind, rain and dark skies. Unfortunately, however, these were the least of the problems that the storm caused. A yellow weather warning was then issued for Wales and England for the weekend just gone, indicating to be prepared for more bad weather on the horizon.
Storm Ciara caused over 20,000 power cuts across the UK and areas of some cities have been left flooded. Areas in North Wales like Gwynedd and Conwy have been heavily damaged by winds reaching up to 93 mph and more than 150 houses in these areas have been damaged. Some schools have also closed. There have even been reports of a lorry on the Severn Bridge being completely tipped on to its side due to the sheer force of the wind.
An area that was severely damaged was the town of Llanrwst in Conwy county. Residents claim that tunnels designed to drain excess water failed to work, leaving the town’s streets flooded. Conwy Council Leader, Sam Rowlands, has announced an investigation into what went wrong. Aaron Wynne, who represents the Crwst Electoral Ward which Llanrwst is part of, stated: “If the culverts were cleared properly and regularly then we wouldn’t have had this result. What’s the point of having a flood alleviation scheme when it’s blocked?”.
Transport also suffered as both rail and air travel were cancelled due to the storm. Parts of the Cambrian line were completely submerged and flights in and out of Wales had to be postponed. Many rugby fans who had flown over to Dublin to watch the recent Six Nations game between Wales and Ireland were subsequently stranded because of the danger of crossing the channel to get back home.
Most devastating of all however, there have been deaths indirectly caused by the storm across Europe. In the UK, a 58-year-old man in Hampshire died after a tree fell on his car, a 77-year-old man in Scotland also passed way when he slipped over on ice, and a 60-year-old man in Liverpool was struck by a tree branch that snapped because of high winds.
While the worst of Storm Ciara may have passed, Storm Dennis has already hit the UK as of the end of last week. The public, especially those in the north of the country, should brace themselves for continuing harsh winds and even potential “blizzard conditions”, according to the Met Office.