Residents and business owners are breathing a sign of relief after predicted mass flooding wasn’t as bad as expected.

Businesses lining the banks of The River Dee prepared for the worse on Friday as the city braced itself for the highest tide in about 16 years.

Now, after watching the waters rise rapidly towards their homes and workplaces, staff and residents across Chester have said they are ‘relieved’ after the flood waters failed to breach lines of sandbags and spill into their properties.

Last month customers were trapped in the Blue Moon Cafe as flood waters submerged The Groves, rising to the top doorstep of the cafe and capsizing a boat close by as customers watched from the window.

 

“I am delighted,” said owner of the popular cafe Sarah May, who said the flood waters hadn’t been as high as they had been expecting.

“The council came out and gave us all sandbags, they told us yesterday to be prepared for what was going to happen.

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“For the past few weeks the water has been high. It started coming up about 11am, but it didn’t reach the doorstep this time.”

But Sarah, who has been running the cafe since March, said she would be keeping the sandbags piled-up outside the businesses door in case of further flooding over the next few days.

Police cordoned-off part of the Groves as they attempted to keep businesses and residents safe as water flooded onto pavements and submerged seats along the banks of the Dee.

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Environment Agency and Cheshire West and Chester Council officers piled sandbags in front of businesses and steps were sealed off with police tape as officers tried to stop dozens of onlookers stepping into the flood waters to take photographs.

Police at the scene confirmed that the Boathouse Pub, which suffered damage after the whole ground floor was submerged during the last spate of flooding last month, had not been damaged in Friday’s high tide.

At The Cop on Sealand Road, water flooded the play area and skatepark and ducks were seen swimming in and out of the climbing frames and swings.

Cheshire West and Chester Council closed its emergency centre shortly before 3pm on Friday after water levels in the River Dee dropped significantly following the tidal surge.

No significant risk is anticipated over Saturday and Sunday, although the authority’s Emergency Planning Team will continue to monitor the situation closely throughout the weekend.

Some 2,000 sandbags already put in place by council teams will remain until flood warnings are lifted.

Water levels throughout today have been less than predicted.

Council teams were put  on stand-by as the highest tide in 16 years threatened to bring flooding to Chester and rural areas along the Dee.

The Environment Agency issued a flood warning for properties and businesses close to the river during the tidal surge, which happened between 12.30-1pm.

Chester bore the brunt of the flood waters, with The Groves and the Cop area off Sealand Road among the areas affected.

Road closures were in place at Souters Lane and Grosvenor Park Terrace in Chester, and at The Parade in Parkgate. Sandy Lane car park in Chester was also closed.

Teams were stationed at several high-risk locations ready to respond to emergency situations such as fallen trees and potential flood damage.

Cars driving through water overflowing on to Sealand Road in Chester at lunchtime on Friday.
Cars driving through water overflowing on to Sealand Road in Chester at lunchtime on Friday.
 

Officers visited a small number of properties at risk from flooding around Parkgate and Little Neston to warn residents of the potential impact and provide sandbags.

Arrangements were put in place for vulnerable people who may be affected by the weather.

The council alerted all residential and nursing homes, schools, day centres and day nurseries in the area at risk.

This is the second month in a row that Chestrer has been hit by flood waters. On December 5, when the Dee breached its banks, the high tide peaked at 6.14m.