St Asaph Flood

St Asaph Flood

Disaster Area


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26 November 2012

The rush of water started long before dawn. As the 3,400 residents of one of Britain’s smallest cities slept in their beds, they were unaware that the River Elwy had burst its banks and was swiftly flooding the streets of St Asaph. By first light, the dreadful damage had been done. The tiny North Wales city was under 5ft of water, the floods were halfway up the sides of bungalows and loaves of supermarket bread bobbed in the filthy water.
Yesterday, as hundreds fled in fear, an elderly woman was found dead in her flooded home after the worst torrent for 50 years tore through their community.

Some 500 households were warned they may have to evacuate as the Elwy reached 14ft 3in (4.35m), making it more than 3ft (1m) deeper than its previous record of 11ft 4in (3.47m) in November 2009. The typical level is between 3ft (0.90m) and 6ft 7in (2.02m). Chaos ensued. After the banks were breached, it left the main road resembling a river. The gushing waters swept away all in their way. Even a 40ft shipping container was lifted out of a yard. Furniture floated away from homes.

Police, firemen, paramedics, road agencies and the RNLI joined forces to tackle the emergency, using inflatable dinghies to paddle to the rescue of those stranded in their homes. Distraught men, women and children were led down ladders from first-floor windows and then paddled to safety by their rescuers through the waist-high water. The oldest was thought to be aged 92, the youngest a babe in arms.

The devastating force of the flood – the worst in living memory there – left many wondering if the torrential rain lashing Britain was not the only cause.

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