Properties damaged and roads closed as ‘extreme winds’ hit Wales

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Chaos hit parts of Wales after winds of up to 94mph, and what was described as a “tornado”, left properties damaged and tore down trees.

The seaside town of Aberystwyth bore the brunt as the powerful gusts swept across the area, prompting a host of road closures.

Police said no injuries had been reported, but a number of caravans were overturned around the town and several roofs were left damaged.

Witnesses reported a tornado hitting the area, but the Met Office and Meteogroup said they had yet to confirm the reports.

Smashed windows and the wreckage of one overturned caravan were pictured on social media, while another video showed a metal frame being blown down some steps.

Thomas Scarrott, 34, who was at the Clarach Bay caravan site, said: “The park is closed at the moment, but if this happened during the peak time then I think we would have been in a bit of trouble.

“I saw caravans getting thrown about in the air, it happened very quick so it went from being very calm, very normal and autumnal to absolute devastation and carnage.

“It took a very direct path through the middle of the park.

“It seems to have all the characteristics of a tornado, when you look at the damage it’s done, it’s not only lifted up caravans, it’s also picked up concrete bollards that are in the ground and threw them around.”

Trees and roof tiles were also blown into roads, with several being forced to close, Dyfed Powys Police said.

The Aberystwyth lifeboat station recorded its strongest gust at 82 knots – 94 mph – shortly after 10.30am.

Although 94mph is fast enough to exceed hurricane speed, forecasters said the wind came in surges and did not last long enough to be classified as a hurricane.

The “extreme winds” swept inland across mid-Wales towards Shrewsbury over the course of Thursday, Meteogroup said.
In the village of Shawbury, Shropshire, forecasters recorded a wind speed of 84mph.

Meanwhile, forecasters warned that snow could arrive in parts of the UK overnight, with the Pennines expected to receive several centimetres, while footage from high roads in Cumbria showed it covered.

Construction equipment-maker JCB briefly suspended production at its digger plant in Rocester, Staffordshire, after what it described as “hurricane force” winds knocking down a wall. No-one was injured in the incident and the area had been cordoned off, the firm said.

JCB’s backhoe assembly manager Richard Williams, from Stramshall, near Uttoxeter, said: “I was about 30 yards away at the time and I heard an enormous crash.

“I turned around and saw the wall and the windows had come out and a big whirlwind of leaves and branches blowing around outside. Luckily no-one was in the vicinity at the time.”

A JCB spokeman said of the weather conditions: “Employees who have been here for decades said they had never seen anything like it.”

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