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Flooding devastates city's riverside homes and attractions

Overflowing Dee brings chaos to residents and businesses at The Groves in Chester

The Groves at Chester (Image: Daniel Jeory)

Homeowners watched in horror as the River Dee in Chester burst its banks and sent water spilling towards their homes.

As severe weather continues to batter the region, Chester remains on high alert with businesses and residents being warned to safeguard their properties.

At just before 12.30pm today the River Dee broke its banks sending water flooding on to The Groves, totally submerging the walkway and rushing towards homes and businesses.

Business owners watched as water rushed past the sandbags and into their pubs and cafes, submerging everything in mud and water.

 

Deputy manager Jacob Dychpon at The Boathouse described how the water had gushed in.

“We are completely flooded.  Everything is under water, we are just trying to save as much as possible," said Jacob.

“When I woke up this morning I didn’t expect this to happen. Nothing could stop it, I hope it is covered.”

The river also overflowed on to The Cop on Sealand Road, totally flooding the skatepark and partially submerging the play area.

 

Residents living in Vernon Road, Gladstone Avenue and Catherine Street left their homes and stood watching as the water levels continued to rise.

One resident, who stood watching the ducks swimming in the play area, said he had contacted his insurance company to check whether his home was protected in case of flood damage.

“I don’t expect it to get any higher,” he said.

“I’m glad I didn’t buy a property closer to the river. Hopefully this is the worse it will get, but we’re just keeping an eye on it.”

Environment Agency warning    

The Environment Agency has issued an amber weather warning for the region, and has Chester at a ‘severe risk’ of  flooding.

They have advised businesses and residents living and working near  Greyhound  retail park, Chester Business Park, Sealand  Road, New Crane Street, Watergate Street,  and Chester Racecourse to prepare for flooding.

Police advice to drivers

Police are urging drivers to be aware of the current weather warnings in place for the county over the next few hours when planning their journeys.

There is a high threat of flooding and high winds in Warrington and Chester which is likely to impact motorists in those areas, as well as on the motorways.

The relevant agencies such as the councils, Highways and Environment Agencies and police are all working together, assessing the ongoing situation, and putting in place the relevant resources to respond to any incidents should they occur.

Chief Inspector Dave Griffiths said: "The situation is currently being monitored by the police and our partner agencies and we have plans in place to respond should any incidents occur, but in the meantime we are focusing on making sure the public are as informed as they can be about the developing picture.

"Motorists in particular are advised to consider any journeys they are taking in the next couple of hours and to make sure they are monitoring the regular updated information being provided via the internet and social media, to make sure your route is clear and safe.

"The Runcorn/Widnes Bridge has been closed to high sided vehicles and the motorway network is being closely monitored by the Highways agency to see if any other closures will be necessary.

"We have had a few calls of trees in the road which have been passed onto the local councils to deal with. Adverse weather conditions do not of course just effect motorists and members of public are urged to be aware of their own safety and pay attention to warnings and advice being issued."

Thelwall Viaduct reopens

The M6 Thelwall Viaduct in Cheshire has fully re-opened.

Restrictions have also been lifted as wind speeds have dropped into 30s and 40s.

The motorway was closed briefly earlier in both directions between junction 20a at Lymm junction 21 with the A57.

Drivers in the region are also being advised that travel over Barton Bridge between junctions 10 and 11 of the M60 in Greater Manchester is being restricted to a single lane at 20mph in both clockwise and anti-clockwise directions for safety reasons. The strongest gust there today also reached 76mph. Drivers of high-sided vehicles, motorcyclists and people towing caravans are advised to avoid Barton Bridge and Thelwall Viaduct altogether.

Both Barton Bridge and Thelwall Viaduct have been affected by incidents involving overturned vehicles.

The incident along the M6 at Barton Bridge happened shortly before 11am today with a lorry overturning on the clockwise carriageway. blocking two of the three carriageway lanes. The lorry cannot be recovered safely until winds drop and drivers are being allowed passed the scene in a single lane with only a single lane in operation on the opposite carriageway for safety reasons.

The incident on the M6 at Thelwall Viaduct happened at about 11.45am with a lorry overturning on the northbound carriageway blocking two lanes.

Staff at the Highways Agency's Regional Control Centre at Newton-le-Willows have set signs advising drivers of the restrictions, M6 closure, alternative routes and advisory speed limits.

Several lorries also overturned in high winds along the northbound M6 in Cumbria earlier today but all of these incidents have now been cleared.

Drivers are being urged to check traffic and weather conditions before setting out on journeys and avoid these sections of the M6 and M60 if they wish to avoid congestion.

The Highways Agency provides live traffic information via its website www.highways.gov.uk/traffic, local and national radio travel bulletins, electronic road signs and mobile platforms, such as the iPhone. Local Twitter services are also available at @HAtraffic_nwest and @HAtraffic_pen9 for transpennine routes.

Providing they can do so safely, road users can also call the Highways Agency Information Line (0300 123 5000) to keep up to date with road conditions.

Winter Watch parade

Cheshire West and Chester Council says that tonight's Winter Watch parade is currently due to go ahead as planned.

However, the council has warned this decision is subject to constant review depending on the prevailing weather conditions. The local authority will announce any update to this situation if it becomes necessary later today.

A council spokesman said the main concern regarding the parade was the danger presented by the gusting winds. He added: "A final decision will be made shortly before 7pm."

  • Restricted access to St Oswald's CE Primary school in Mollington has been reported due to a power cable which has come down opposite the school on Grove Road. Parents are being advised to approach the school via Demage Lane or Coalpit Lane.
  • Schools on the Chester-Flintshire border are also being affected by the severe weather. St Anthony's Catholic Primary, Wood Memorial Primary and Saltney Ferry Primary schools, St David's High School, all in Saltney, and Sealand Primary School have closed their doors.
  • Chronicle reader Denise Johnson posted on Facebook that the Sandy Lane car park was flooded and that the village of Aldford would be without electricity until at least 4pm.
  • The North West Motorway Police have just tweeted that a HGV has blown over on the Thelwall viaduct.
  • Merseyrail have reduced their services between Chester and Liverpool. They have warned trains may be subject to delays or cancellations at short notice. Merseyrail are hoping to be running a normal timetable service by 4.30pm.
  • Virgin Trains have tweeted that there are no trains between Chester and Holyhead.

 

 

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