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Wind, Rains Hit Wales, Flooding Kills One

October 19, 1987

LONDON (AP) _ Gales winds and torrential rains struck Wales and northern border areas Sunday, triggering flash floods that swept one man to his death.

Soldiers and engineers struggled to restore electricity to nearly 250,000 homes in the south and clear train tracks of fallen trees before Monday’s rush hour.

The storm hit two days after hurricane-force winds devastated southern England, claiming 14 lives. In addition, the master of the ship Sumnea, which sank in the English Channel, was still missing. The body of an officer from the ship was found at Dover over the weekend.

On Sunday, winds averaging 40 mph hit western England, Wales and northern England. Swollen rivers burst their banks, sweeping cars off roads and cutting off communities.

A 25-year-old Englishman was swept to his death in North Wales when he was caught in raging flood water during a climbing expedition in the mountains near Aber.

Floodwaters as deep as six feet swept through the main street of Goodwick, near Fishguard, Wales. Parts of Haverfordwest, Cardigan and Newport, all in Wales, were also badly hit.

One man was rescued after being carried down the river Teifi near Newcastle Emlyn in Dyfed, Wales. Cars were picked up by flood water and hurled into trees.

″It is just not safe to be out there,″ said a police spokesman in the area.

Scores of homes in Cumbria, northern England, were flooded. Firemen answered more than 100 calls to pump out houses and factories. Sandbags were issued to many families under threat from rising water.

″It almost seems as though the county is sinking,″ a fire brigade spokesman said Sunday night. ″A tremendous amount of rain has fallen today.″

Hundreds of families in southern England were still without water because of power cuts. The Red Cross was helping local government social service agencies providing meals, blankets and accommodation for those unable to remain in their homes.

The British Electricity Council said Sunday it was impossible to predict when power would be restored to some areas hit by Friday’s gales, because emergency teams were still facing serious problems including flooded fields that made it impossible to put back fallen pylons.

″We are calling out the army to help us with this problem,″ said a council spokesman, who by British custom wasn’t identified. He said 1,000 enginers had also arrived from Scotland to help with repairs.

Service was restored on some rail routes, but scores remained disrupted. British Rail’s Eastern Region said it had cleared more than 2,000 trees from lines throughout the region and hoped to operate 90 percent of its normal service Monday. Some routes were expected to remain cut in the Southern Region.

British Telecom drafted in teams of engineers from central and northwest England to help clear the backlog of repairs to telephone service.

Insurance companies have estimated damage at 300 million pounds ($500 million) or higher.

Chief Inspector Mick Lofthouse of Sevenoaks Police said one of his biggest problems was coping with sightseers. Sevenoaks, in Kent county, lost six of the giant oak trees that gave the town its name.

Update hourly