Storm Francis: Homes evacuated in North Wales as flooding hits

26 August 2020, 10:55

Flooding and road closures were reported across parts of Wales
Flooding and road closures were reported across parts of Wales. Picture: Getty
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

Dozens of people have been evacuated from their homes in several parts of North Wales as flooding caused by Storm Francis swept through the area.

Evacuations were underway overnight on Tuesday in Beddgelert and Bethesda after nearby rivers burst their banks, according to police and local reports.

Photos and videos from the area show floodwaters rushing through completely submerged roads and streets.

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A spokesman for North Wales Police encouraged people to avoid flooded areas and from driving into water in their vehicles.

This, the spokesman said, could pose a "significant risk to the occupants as well as cause significant damage to vehicles."

There were yellow rain warnings in place for Northern Ireland, parts of England, Wales and Scotland until 6am on Wednesday, while yellow warnings for wind were in place for England and Wales until 9am.

A further 36 flood alerts were put in place by the Environment Agency overnight, including five for England.

Bethesda was recorded as being the wettest place in the UK, where 101mm of rain was recorded.

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It comes as Storm Francis hit the country with heavy rain and wind gusts of more than 80mph - just short of the August record set in 1996 at 87mph.

Despite this, Lake Vyrnwy in Powys, Wales, equalled the Welsh record for August with gusts reported up to 75mph.

The same wind speeds were recorded in August 1979 at Milford Haven.

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Meanwhile, in South Wales, police were involved in two water searches, including a rescue of holidaymakers on a campsite in St Clears, Carmarthenshire, due to the swollen River Taff.

One man was also given treatment after being evacuated with 30 other people from a flooded caravan site in Wiseman's Bridge, Narberth.

In Northern Ireland, the fire service said 37 people had to be rescued from floodwaters, which included a rescue operation of elderly residents in Newcastle, County Down, after a nearby river burst its banks.

Rescuers also said 13 people in Draperstown, County Londonderry, had to be saved from flooding.

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As Storm Francis continues to move on, RAC Breakdown spokesman Rod Dennis warned that "very unpleasant" driving conditions could still be expected until midday on Wednesday.

He said: "An amber weather warning covering a swathe of western Britain means there is a real risk of disruption to journeys from flying debris such as tree branches."

"Surface spray and perhaps some localised flooding are also possible."