ARCTIC weather left a Flintshire family stranded in New York.
Anne and Selwyn Evans, who run Siop y Siswrn in Mold, were at the end of a New Year’s trip with their daughter Lisa, 18, when freezing weather conditions struck.
Thousands of flights across North America were cancelled with temperatures reaching record-breaking lows.
The Evans’ family was forced to pay for an extra five days stay in the US while back in Mold their shop and gallery in New Street remained closed.
The family learned their plane was grounded just 24 hours before they were due to leave New York.
Anne said she had been in the queue about to check out of the hotel when a text message arrived saying their flight had been cancelled.
She was directed to the website to rearrange flights but the internet was jammed.
“There were hundreds of people in the same boat,” she said. “Everyone was trying to re-book.”
Anne said that as the hours went by, trying and failing to get through on the telephone, she and her husband became worried that more and more people would be filling up flights ahead of them.
She said she was about to give up when someone finally answered. The bad news was the first flights available were not for another five days.
“But at least we knew what we were doing,” said Anne. “I don’t know what would have happened if I’d hung up. We got the only three seats left.”
Husband Selwyn said he hadn’t yet got around to making a claim on the insurance but hoped to be partially reimbursed.
“You never know but we should be refunded for part of it hopefully,” he said. “When you’re in a city for an extra five days, it can be costly.”
The couple said they felt fortunate to have been able to book the extra nights in the same hotel even though the weather outside was ‘bitterly cold’ at minus 20oC.
“With the arctic winds, you couldn’t stay out more than half an hour,” said Selwyn.
“Lots of people were saying it had never been so cold.”
But he said there had been no problem with heating inside buildings and the couple’s daughter Lisa had been happy to stay for the extended break.
The holiday had been a belated birthday present for Lisa, a pupil at Ysgol Maes Garmon in Mold.
“She just thought it was all fun,” said Selwyn. “She thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Having arrived back via London late on Wednesday, the Evans’ said they were now trying to catch up on shop business and trying to get back to some sort of normality.
They remained upbeat about their trip.
“It was no one’s fault,” said Anne. “These things just seem to happen to us. The same thing happened when we went to Copenhagen.
“I think the message is: ‘Don’t follow us at New Year’!”