A massive clean-up and recovery operation is underway to deal with the aftermath of Storm Eunice which battered Carmarthenshire.
The storm caused disruption to council services on Friday, with schools closing and bin collections suspended.
Leisure centres, parks, libraries, threatres and museums were also closed on Friday as a precaution to keep both staff and residents safe, along with recycling centres, day centres and customer service Hwbs and cashdesks.
Routine housing inspections and planned works were also suspended so any emergency works caused by the storm could be prioritised.
The council’s contact centre and out-of-hours staff dealt with hundreds of calls, and staff were mobilised throughout the night and day to deal with the damage caused by the storm.
Council highways crews have had an extremely busy few days as extreme winds brought down trees, branches, roof tiles and electricity cables on Friday and throughout the weekend. To date, they received 295 weather-related highway reports, and this figure continues to rise.
This resulted in numerous road closures across the county which highway crews, supported by specialist tree contractors, worked hard to clear. Closed roads included King Street in Carmarthen, the A4069 at Llandovery due to flooding, the B4308 at Stradey woods in Llanelli and the A484 at Llangeler and Pentre Morgan. There are still some road closures in place in a few areas, particularly on the minor rural roads and these will re-open once it is safe to do so. All closures are published on the Traffic Wales website.
The council’s property teams dealt with over 300 calls, mainly from housing tenants, reporting damage to their homes, such as loose roof tiles, or fences blown down, as well as from some schools including Llandeilo and Pencader, as well as weather-related issues reported at Richmond Park, Bryngwyn and Ffwrnes. The buildings will be assessed during the half-term break and any necessary repairs carried out when weather conditions allow.
The Clock Tower near Carmarthen Market was also damaged in the storm, as was the roof at Carmarthen Leisure Centre and an outbuilding at Carmarthenshire Museum in Abergwili. Both the leisure centre and the museum remain closed until they can be properly assessed.
The council’s social care staff were also out and about assisting with power cuts which affected some of the county’s care homes and ensuring they provided continued care and support for the most vulnerable.
Now that the winds have started to subside, the clean-up and recovery work can get underway. Specialist contractors are being brought in where necessary to help with storm damage clearance and to minimise the disruption to the public as much as possible.
However, due to the scale of the storm, continuing high winds and availability of contractors, the works will take some time to complete, and residents are being urged to please take care when out and about as some buildings remain damaged and there could still be some debris on the roads.
People are also being urged to check on their neighbours, particularly those in our communities who are more vulnerable.
Cabinet Member for the Environment Cllr Hazel Evans said: “Our frontline crews have been working hard in challenging conditions and I would like to thank all our staff for their efforts over the last few days, as well as our contractors and all our partner agencies that have helped during the storm. I know it hasn’t been easy, but we really do appreciate all your hard work in helping to keep us safe.”
The impact of the storm is still being felt across Carmarthenshire, with knock-on effects on bin collections in particular. Crews are catching up with missed bin collections from Friday/Saturday, however, this will take a few days as there are still some areas that are inaccessible. Residents are being advised that if their waste has still not been collected by the end of Wednesday, to please report it to the council using its online reporting form on the website.
Council Leader Emlyn Dole said: “Our priority as always, is the safety of our staff and residents. I would like to thank all our staff who have worked tirelessly over the last few days and through the weekend responding to the difficult conditions, and to those who are now managing the clean-up and recovery work now that the wind has started to ease. Our teams will now be able to assess the damage caused by the storm.
“And although we are over the worst of the weather, I am urging residents to be careful whilst driving, especially in the dark, as there could still be some trees, branches and other debris on the roads.”
Residents can also report any highway problems on the council website, please visit carmarthenshire.gov.uk
For regular service and weather updates please visit the council’s Facebook and Twitter pages and the Newsroom page on the website.