/Major incident declared as towns devastated by Storm Dennis flooding

Major incident declared as towns devastated by Storm Dennis flooding

Four major incidents have been declared in south Wales, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire as towns are devastated by Storm Dennis.

Huge rainfall has left entire towns underwater as residents and businesses count the cost of the damage.

Welsh town Pontypridd has been heavily hit, with residents forced to evacuate their homes due to flood water.

And this afternoon Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire all declared a major incident, urging people to avoid unnecessary travel and to check on their neighbours.

The Met Office had earlier taken the rare step of issuing a red weather warning, saying that lives were being endangered by the extreme conditions.

South Wales Police said some communities have been cut off, with a number of rescues being carried out.

In a statement the force said: “Due to this morning’s flooding and severe weather related incident which have occurred overnight and through the course of the morning, a major incident was declared and South Wales Police is coordinating a multi-agency response.

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A member of the public is rescued after flooding in Nantgarw, Wales
(Image: PA)

“South Wales Police, on behalf of the local resilience co-ordination group, has declared the major incident in the wake of serious disrution caused by adverse weather across the south Wales region.”

The statement continues: “Agencies are continuing to deal with multiple floods and landslides, and have been required to evacuate residents from houses.

“Some communities have been cut-off as a result, but emergency service workers are working tirelessly to put measures in place to ensure the safety of residents.

Rescue operations underway after flooding in Nantgarw, Wales
(Image: PA)
The view from inside the home of Tracey Newman from Nant Garw, South Wales
(Image: Rob Melen/WALES NEWS SERVICE)

“Many rescues have been carried out over the past few hours along the evacuation of houses.

“Local authorities across the region have set up emergency centres for residents who have been displaced.”

West Mercia Police have warned that the market town of Ludlow is the most seriously affected.

In a statement Herefordshire Council said deep surface flooding has prompted a major incident to be declared.

It said: “Please do not put yourself at unnecessary risk – avoid any unnecessary travel and do not enter flood water.

“Please check on your neighbours, especially if they are elderly or vulnerable. We are concentrating our efforts to ensure vulnerable residents are evacuated where needed and rest centres are being set up for any residents that need to be evacuated.”

Mum-of-three Tracey Newman, 46, from Nantgarw, south Wales, said she was woken in the middle of the night to the horrific scene of her flooded house.

She said: “I woke up at 3.45am when I heard water pouring. I thought the washing machine had burst.

A baby is taken to safety after flooding in Nantgarw, Wales
(Image: PA)

“I went downstairs and the water was knee-high. Tien, my son, was asleep on the sofa.

“I was screaming and shouting for him to wake up. He waded through the water to get upstairs. It was terrible.

“I phoned the police and they told me to stay indoors, go upstairs and carry as much as you can.

“By now the water was up to my waist. We have lost everything downstairs.

“At this point we heard an almighty bang downstairs. I thought a wall had come down or the house was moving. It must have been furniture falling over.”

The Environment Agency’s (EA) flood and coastal risk management executive director John Curtin said on Sunday that there were a record 594 flood warnings and alerts in force.

Mr Curtin tweeted: “Breaking: we now have the most flood warnings and alerts in force (594) in England than any other day on record.”

Flood water in Pontypridd, South Wales
(Image: Ben Evans/Huw Evans Agency)
An ambulance submerged in water after the River Taff burst its banks
(Image: Tom Martin/WALES NEWS SERVICE)

The Met Office said that winds of more than 80mph were recorded across parts of the country, with the highest measuring 91mph in Aberdaron in north Wales on Saturday.

Gwent Police said that residents of Skenfrith, Monmouthshire, were being advised to evacuate due to the flooding.

Flights have been grounded for safety reasons, with British Airways and easyJet confirming cancellations.

More than 230 easyJet flights in and out of the UK on Saturday were cancelled, while several sporting fixtures were also called off due to the weather.

Two bodies were pulled from rough seas on Saturday, before the worst of the storm hit.

One man was found following a huge search operation off Margate after an early-morning distress call, while another was found at Herne Bay.

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