A tornado ripped through a holiday village today, destroying chalets and caravans and leaving scenes of ‘absolute carnage’, and the extreme weather is set to continue into the weekend.
Gusts of up to 95mph were recorded close to flattened chalets in Clarach Bay, near Aberystwyth, west Wales, while houses nearby had their roofs ripped off.
More than 550 properties in Wales were left without power this afternoon, amid yellow weather warnings for wind and dangerous driving conditions.
Today the MET Office warned Saturday could see winds of up to 50mph in the south east. Experts added up to 30mm of rain – almost half the average for November – could fall in the south in just 24 hours over the weekend.
The Environment Agency still has 45 flood alerts in place across the country with more expected. Ice warnings are still in places in parts of the north east and Scotland.
In parts of west Wales today all buses were suspended in the area, and a road near the coast was closed, as trees were ripped from the ground and twenty caravans blown over.
Smashed windows and the wreckage of one overturned caravan were pictured on social media, while a video showed a metal frame being blown down some steps.
Trees were ripped up and 20 caravans blown over by dangerous gusts, and a branch crushed a car as it fell due to the high winds.
Several other roads were closed due to fallen trees, and the extreme weather is set to sweep from Wales in the west across the Midlands.
And in Hartside, Cumbria, heavy rain turned to snow, which blanketed the hills in the town in north east England.
Forecasters warned that snow could arrive in other parts of the UK overnight, with the Pennines expected to receive several centimetres.
The Met Office and Meteogroup said they had yet to confirm reports that a tornado in Wales. ‘Extreme winds’ then swept inland across mid-Wales towards Shrewsbury over the course of the day, Meteogroup said.
No-one is thought to have been hurt yet, but holiday camp director Thomas Scarrot took pictures of the tornado aftermath, describing the scene as ‘absolute carnage’.
He said: ‘It was a very frightening experience, it just came out of nowhere.
‘It must have been a tornado because a holiday village opposite us doesn’t seem to have any damage.
‘Thankfully we are closed so there is only a few workers and maintenance people, otherwise I reckon there would have been a lot more injuries. Everyone is safe though – what a lucky escape!’
Students at Aberystwyth University were told to batten down the hatches and stay indoors – after high winds cancelled lectures.
A tweet from the university said: ‘All lectures on Penglais and Llanbadarn campus cancelled £storm £damage. Students told return to residences, stay indoors, monitor emails.’
An historic church in nearby Borth saw part of its roof destroyed as it was blown apart by the gusting gales.
One tree branch landed on a vehicle near to the RAF Shawbury base, to the east of the Welsh border near Shrewsbury, where gusts of up to 84mph blew.
A yellow weather warning has been issued for wind by the Met Office for the West Midlands, East Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, as well as Wales.
In the English regions affected, there will also be wintry showers this evening, set to turn to ice overnight and wreak havoc on the roads.
Heavy rainfall is expected across the south at the weekend, with a risk of hail, thunder and lightning tomorrow after sunny spells in the morning, according to the Met Office.
Sunshine is set to deteriorate into showers again on Saturday, with Sunday expected to be a washout.
Damage had also been caused to Adcote School, Shropshire, with six trees falling and a window smashed by what was described as a tornado.
English Teacher Katy Rink said: ‘Break time had just started and we suddenly noticed the leaves were flying by our windows horizontally.
‘It was a furious tornado. ‘We told the girls to keep away from the windows and then our front door blew in and our huge pictures in the lobby all blew off the walls and shattered.
‘We also lost one of our beautiful window panels in the Great Hall. ‘It was the most intense weather event I have ever experienced.’
Crews at Aberystwyth Lifeboat weather station said they had never recorded winds as strong.
A spokesman for Mid and West Wales Fire Service said 20 caravans had also been turned over nearby and several roads were blocked.
Shortly after 11.30am emergency services all became inundated with calls that roads all over the Midlands were blocked.
By JAMES DUNN and RACHAEL BURFORD FOR MAILONLINE
PUBLISHED: 09:07 EST, 17 November 2016 | UPDATED: 18:13 EST, 17 November 2016
Photo by Keith Morris “Smashed: Gusts blew at up to 95mph were recorded close to chalets flattened in Clarach Bay, near Aberystwyth, West Wales, while houses had their roofs ripped off today”