/Storm Dennis: Roads in Wales impassable as flood clean-up begins – BBC News

Storm Dennis: Roads in Wales impassable as flood clean-up begins – BBC News

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A family on holiday were rescued from a cottage at Usk on the WyeImage copyright
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A family on holiday were rescued from a cottage at Usk on the Wye

Residents are counting the cost of flooding after Storm Dennis left parts of Wales under water.

There are cancellations and significant delays on trains after a month’s worth of rain fell in 48 hours.

Roads across south and mid Wales remain blocked by floods and landslips and a further weather warning for rain has been issued for later this week.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) said the scale of flooding was “unprecedented” and there was a “huge” amount of rain.

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Media captionA massive clean-up operation is under way after Storm Dennis

“This absolutely devastating,” said Howard Baker, landlord of The Bridge End Inn in Crickhowell.

Mr Baker has been at the pub 21 years and said while there had been minor floods before, nothing on this scale.

He added: “The pub and the accommodation upstairs it’s all gone.

“The waters have blown the doors off, it’s blown the windows out.

“There’s virtually nothing salvageable left in the pub.”

He described waters reaching “out our bedrooms” and “20 feet high at one point”, saying: “The costs could run in to hundreds of thousands of pounds looking at this.

“I can’t see me reopening anytime soon”

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Inside a flooded kitchen in Nantgarw

Sian Williams, head of operations at NRW – which still had 19 flood warnings in place at 12:00GMT – said 163mm (6.5in) of rain fell in the 48 hours between lunchtime on Friday and Sunday.

On Monday, Donna Littlechild from NRW said: “With further rain forecast for the next few hours, we are urging people to heed advice from ourselves and emergency services.”

A Met Office yellow warning for rain has been issued from 18:00 GMT on Wednesday until 15:00 on Thursday in areas of south, mid and north Wales.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said he would look into what help could be provided.

He said a full assessment of flood defences, roads and infrastructure would take place before officers sit down with local authority bosses to talk about costs.

The Welsh Government had a £350m flood and coastal defence budget, and all the defences succeeded, Mr Drakeford said.

However, he said “off the scale” and “massively intense” incidents such as this would increase, and plans had to be put in place.

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The clean-up began in Mountain Ash on Sunday afternoon

Travel disruption continues

Transport for Wales engineers are assessing the full extent of damage on Monday, but the company warned of “significant delays” in many areas and asked passengers to check their journeys on Monday.

More than 200 services were disrupted on Monday and more than 70 journeys were cancelled.

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A garden in Quarry Row, Merthyr Tydfil, has collapsed into the river following the floods

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Aerial footage of Aberdare on Sunday

Customer delivery director Bethan Jelfs said: “There has been damage to the rail network and with some roads remaining impassable and limited replacement road transport available, it is inevitable that some services this morning will be subject to significant disruption which will result in delays and cancellations.”

She highlighted the Newport to Hereford route where there had been “significant damage” to the track, a landslide near Ebbw Vale and flooding north of Pontypridd which has cut off services to Porth, Aberdare and Merthyr Tydfil.

Powys council bosses said the bridge at Crickhowell was damaged in the floods and will remain closed until the structure is inspected later on Monday.

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Floodwater was still causing problems in Nantgarw on Monday morning

Road closures

  • A484 at Llechryd, Ceredigion
  • A483 at Arddleen, Powys
  • A475 at Newcastle Emlyn, Ceredigion
  • A466 at Monmouth
  • A479 Pengenffordd, Powys
  • A4077 Crickhowell Bridge
  • A4143 Abergavenny Bridge
  • A4059 Mountain Ash to Abercynon roundabout, Rhondda Cynon Taff
  • A4042 at Abergavenny
  • A4077 at Gilwen, Monmouthshire
  • A4069 Llandovery, Carmarthenshire
  • A4054 Oxford Street, Nantgarw, Rhondda Cynon Taff
  • A40 Glangrwyney Road, Glangewyney, Powys
  • A4107 Bwlch mountain road, Neath Port Talbot

Rhondda Cynon Taf council advised motorists to drive “with great caution” and not to ignore road closure signs. while Caerphilly council said the storm had damaged road surfaces in many areas.

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A woman embraces a relative – her new car was found 250m away after floating down a flooded street in Nantgarw

A red weather warning – meaning there was a threat to life – was issued by the Met Office as the storm hit parts of south and mid Wales on Saturday and Sunday.

While river levels have fallen, South Wales Police are warning people to only travel if necessary and not to go near rivers and waterways.

Assistant Chief Constable Jenny Gilmer said: “It’s vitally important that people still follow safety advice. Whilst things may appear to be getting better, there is still a serious risk to people and property.

“The disruption has been significant, and over the next few days there will be many people who are left dealing with the aftermath of what has been a devastating storm.”

How are communities responding?

Some communities were still dealing with the aftermath of Storm Ciara when the heavy rain began, with businesses and homes damaged by flood waters for the second time in a week.

On Sunday afternoon some residents in parts of the Rhondda valley and Powys were able to start sweeping mud from buildings and streets as the water levels subsided.

Crowdfunding pages have been set up to raise money for those affected after homes, schools and businesses were damaged during the flooding.

In Taff’s Well, Rhondda Cynon Taff, villagers have filled the local rugby club with donations after a statement on Facebook on Sunday.

An industrial estate in the village and a nursery were submerged after the river burst its banks.

The Little Friends Playgroup said they had “lost everything” and claimed people would struggle to find alternative childcare.

Music venue Jac’s, in Aberdare, said it would be hosting a benefit concert for flooded venues in Pontypridd and Treforest.

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Lee Dainton

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This football pitch in Cwmbran turned into a boating lake for this canoeist

Homes and businesses damaged

“I looked downstairs in the early hours to see a settee floating at the bottom of my stairs,” said Susan Fraser of Nantgarw, Rhondda Cynon Taff.

“But there have been a lot of people worse than us. A lot of people evacuated.

“The whole of our community was under water,” she told Oliver Hides on BBC Radio Wales.

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In Pontypridd businesses are counting the cost of the second storm in less than two weeks

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First Minister Mark Drakeford meets householder Caroline Jones in her flood-affected house in Pontypridd

Rachel Cox, also from Nantgarw, said many of her possessions were destroyed in the floods.

“When you walk into this devastation it’s just the silliest things that you think probably wouldn’t make any difference to you really do,” she said.

“We won’t move. We get amber warnings all the time, the river is literally just over the field, when you’re told that constantly get the important stuff upstairs you’re like ‘really? Nothing happens’… we had no idea something like that could happen or would happen.”

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Vanessa Pitman

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Vanessa Pitman’s garden was left submerged in flood water

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Vanessa Pitman

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A roof was carried into her garden from about 400m away

Vanessa Pitman, from Taff’s Well, said her partner woke to find water “gushing” out of their downstairs toilet and flood levels almost reached the ceiling in her house.

“We’ve just lost everything,” she said. “The only floor that’s OK is in the attic, everything else is ruined.

“At the end of the day we bought the house because of the river and it’s gone and ruined our house.

“This is life-changing because we’ve lost everything and we’ve got to start all over again.”

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Taff Street in Pontypridd was left underwater after heavy rain on Saturday and Sunday

Darren Hughes from Resolven, Neath Port Talbot, opened a cafe last November, and said he has lost tens of thousands of pounds after the river Neath broke its banks.

He said: “So much has been destroyed. This is out family business. Myself my wife and daughter all work here and now we have nothing. I hope we can get it up and running again soon.

“We knew it was likely to flood a bit. It has before. But we have never seen it this bad.”

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Darren Hughes estimated the flooding will cost him tens of thousands of pounds

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Wales News Service

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Clearing up in the centre of Pontypridd on Monday

Pontypridd Museum thanked people who had volunteered to help salvage artefacts, after its basement was flooded.

Also in Pontypridd, Eglwysbach’s GP surgery is likely to remain closed for some time after the practice said it was left with “significant” flood damage.

“We will be utilising our other surgeries in Tonteg and Ynysybwl in the meantime, but appreciate your understanding while we assess the consequences,” a statement on the surgery website said.

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Hien Li said she found her Pontypridd nail bar underwater on Saturday morning

Hien Li, who runs Olivia’s Nail and Beauty Bar in Pontypridd said staff worked for seven hours on Sunday after finding the shop underwater.

“About 10 local volunteers came to help, and moved all the stuff upstairs,” she said.

“It was really bad, I felt really lost, everything we used is gone, lost.”

Jake Budd, from Energie Fitness Gym, said he watched on CCTV as flood water poured into the business in the town.

“It was quite distressing, but it could have been a lot worse for us. I know some of the shops have been up to the ceilings in their cellars [with water].”

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A man clears debris from the pavement at Aberdare in the south Wales valleys

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price is due to visit Pontypridd on Monday to meet residents and business owners dealing with the aftermath of the second storm in a week.

In Nantgarw, more than 100 homes were flooded after the river burst its banks and cars were towed away after being submerged.

In Cardiff the council is working to clear away a “significant amount of debris” which had gathered in Cardiff Bay after being swept down from the rivers.

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Emergency services and volunteers were praised for evacuating hundreds of people from their homes

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