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Storm Francis brings flood, damaging rainfall and record-breaking winds to UK and Ireland

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Storm Francis hit parts of the UK and Ireland on Tuesday, August 25, 2020, bringing heavy rains and flooding that damaged hundreds of properties, prompted dozens of rescues, and left two people missing. The Met Office confirmed that the storm also brought record-high wind speeds across Wales and the Midlands, with gusts between 79 km/h (49 mph) to 125 km/h (78 mph).

Floodwaters and fallen trees damaged hundreds of homes and businesses. Debris also blocked roads and rail lines, disrupting travel.

Police searched for two missing people who were feared to have fallen into the swollen River Taff. Meanwhile, a woman was safely rescued from the Ely, another swollen river in the Welsh capital.

The Met Office confirmed that a number of areas across Wales and the Midlands registered record-high wind speeds for the month of August. Gusts of 109 km/h (68 mph) were recorded at Pembrey Sands, 84 km/h (52 mph) at Shobdon, and 79 km/h (49 mph) at Pershore. All were August highs for the said locations. Wind gusts reached up to 125 km/h (78 mph) off the Isle of Wight.

Strong winds prompted the agency to issue an amber warning across most of Wales and central England on Tuesday.

"Wind speeds this strong are unusual during August and may come as a surprise to people spending time outdoors trying to catch the last few days of summer," said chief meteorologist Steve Ramsdale.

In St. Clears, Carmarthenshire, fire crews rescued nine people and two dogs from a flooded campsite after river levels rose. All campers were taken to the accommodation. 

Around 30 other people were also evacuated from a flooded caravan site in Narberth, Pembrokeshire. In Llanelli and Neath, a number of homes were infiltrated by floodwaters. The M48 bridge was closed in both directions due to wind speeds, while power disruptions also affected hundreds of houses.

In Newcastle, Northern Ireland, people were rescued from their flooded homes after a river broke its banks, sending waters to 300 houses and submerging streets.

As of Wednesday, August 26, daytime showers are forecast to fade while outbreaks of rain are developing over parts of southern Scotland, northern England, and Northern Ireland.

Flood warnings remain in force for Scotland, Wales, and England. Met Office forecasts a dry start for many areas on Thursday, August 27, with showers or longer spells of rain developing later through. 

In Ireland, Met Eireann forecasts mainly dry weather on Wednesday evening, with any remaining showers in Ulster clearing. Rain is expected to develop in the west later, spreading to most areas overnight and becoming heavy in some areas, mainly in Munster.

Thursday will be mostly cloudy with rain spells that may get heavy, especially over the southern half of the country. 

Featured image credit: chave weather/YouTube

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