SEVERE weather led to scenes of chaos as flooding and high winds battered parts of the region.
People were being urged to evacuate their homes, nine schools closed their doors and transport networks came to a standstill as surging waves flooded parts of Flintshire’s coastline yesterday.
Residents in Bagillt, Greenfield, Point of Ayr and Talacre areas were urged to evacuate their properties and Holywell Leisure Centre in Fron Park Road was made available as a rest centre for affected residents until about 2pm.
Hundreds of people were urged to leave their homes by North Wales Police, with sandbags being used to try to protect homes and businesses.
Chris Ashmore, a maintenance worker for Cambria Wales and West, helped with preparations in Pen Lon, Bagillt.
The 33-year-old, also from Bagillt, said: “We have helped some older people move their stuff upstairs.
“In past years the gardens have filled up and caused this area to flood but this time I think it will come up over the road.”
Police said the highest possible alert levels were put into place for Talacre, Ty’n y Morfa, Dee Bank, Boot, Welston, Walwen and the Greenfield Business Park.
A spokesman said: “Residents are being urged to monitor emergency services messages online, on radio and television for the latest information.”
At 4pm yesterday, North Wales Police said the immediate risks caused by the high wind and tides had abated.
The rest centre set up at Holywell Leisure Centre was closed after it was decided by the authorities that Greenfield, Bagillt and Point of Ayr, appeared to have escaped any serious flooding during high tide at lunchtime today.
Chief Supt Jeremy Vaughan said: “Although the immediate danger has passed we are assessing the overall situation and providing assistance where it is needed. “
Natural Resources Wales warned yesterday that high tides and gale force winds were due to create the highest tide in a decade or more around the North Wales coast.
John Bithell, 86, of Castle Dyke Street, Flint, said: “I have never seen it as bad as this and I have lived here since 1956.
“It’s still quite a long way off coming over the road but it was quite a shock to see it so high when I looked out of my bedroom window.”
People were asked to take action to move important and valuable items to safety, making sure they kept themselves and their families safe and to listen to the advice of emergency services.
A silver command centre was set up on Greenfield Business Park with emergency service personnel and community leaders meeting to plan for the worst.
Some schools in the area closed, including St David’s High School, Saltney, Bryn Tirion Hall school, Caergwrle, and Sealand Primary School fully closed. Queensferry Community Primary School, Saltney Ferry Primary School, Saltney Wood Memorial Primary school, St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Flint, Ysgol Pen Coch, Flint, and St Anthony's Catholic Primary School were partially closed with parents being given the option of whether to collect their children.
Several roads were closed in the region with diversions being put into place.
The A548 Coast Road between Aber Road, Flint and Well Hill in Greenfield were closed, as was the Flintshire Bridge, but all reopened just before 6.30pm.
No trains were running between Holyhead and Chester due to the adverse weather.
A spokesman for Arriva Trains Wales said yesterday: “All services along the North Wales Coast have also been suspended due to flooding on the line caused by high waves. Arriva Trains Wales advises passengers not to travel to and from stations on these routes due to limited availability of rail replacement buses in North Wales.
“Tickets dated for travel today (Thursday) are valid for travel tomorrow (Friday).”
Due to high winds that brought down trees and power cables on the line between Church Stretton and Shrewsbury, and Ruabon and Chirk, train services between North Wales/Manchester and South Wales were either cancelled or severely delayed.