Major incident declared in South Wales after Storm Dennis

Police have declared a major incident in South Wales after severe flooding from Storm Dennis overnight.

Streets have been evacuated with the help of a lifeboat in some of the worst-hit areas and people moved to emergency rescue centres after their properties and businesses were devastated by water from overflowing rivers.

On Sunday afternoon South Wales Police said they had declared a major incident as firefighters and rescue crews continued to help communities who have been cut off due to the flood water.

Assistant Chief Constable Jennifer Gilmer, said: "I would like to reassure the public who have been affected that we are doing everything we can, and will continue to work tirelessly until all risks dissipate.

"I would like to thank all our emergency services and rescue partners for their assistance and professionalism.

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Stormy weather in the UK
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Stormy weather in the UK
Flood water surrounds Upton upon Severn in Worcestershire. PA Photo. Picture date: Tuesday February 18, 2020. Severe flood warnings remain in place in the wake of Storm Dennis, with more rain expected to fall later this week. See PA story WEATHER Storm. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Flood water at the Ship Inn in Acaster Malbis, near York, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
People eating by in front of temporary flood defences in Bewdley, Worcestershire, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
A woman carrying shopping bags through flood water, as pumps and flood barriers help to keep the water from flooding homes in Gloucester Road in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, following the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
A resident carrying a sandbag in Gloucester Road in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, where pumps and flood barriers have been put in to help to keep the water from flooding homes following the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
A man wades through flood water in Upton-upon-Severn, Worcestershire, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
The Rose and Crown pub surrounded by flood water in Worcestershire, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
The Riverside Caravan Park Houses surrounded by flood water in in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
A woman carrying shopping walks next to flood water, as she returns to her home in Gloucester Road in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, following the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Flood water at the Ship Inn in Acaster Malbis, near York, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Landlord Colin Reynolds walks through flood water in the Ship Inn in Acaster Malbis, near York, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Flood water at the Ship Inn in Acaster Malbis, near York, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Flood in Acaster Malbis, near York, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
A Flood Warden checks on a house through flooded streets in Hereford, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
A vehicle attempts to navigate the floodwaters in Nantgarw, Wales after Storm Dennis hit the UK.
Flood in Acaster Malbis, near York, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
A child's toy vehicle remains unscathed after flooding in Nantgarw, Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
Member of the public wade through floodwaters after flooding in Nantgarw, Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
A member of the public and there dog is rescued after flooding in Nantgarw, Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
Rescue workers continue operations after flooding in Nantgarw, Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
Members of the public are escorted to safety after flooding in Nantgarw, Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
A half submerged fast food van after flooding in Nantgarw, Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
Members of the public are rescued after flooding in Nantgarw, Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
A dog and its owner are rescued by emergency services after flooding in Nantgarw, Wales after Storm Dennis hit the UK.
A member of the public wades through floodwaters after flooding in Nantgarw, Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
Rescue operations continue as emergency services take residents of Oxford Street, Nantgarw to safety, after flooding in Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
People cross Tower Bridge, in London, during a heavy downpour of rain as Storm Dennis hits the UK.
Rescue operations continue as emergency services take residents of Oxford Street, Nantgarw to safety, after flooding in Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
One-year-old Blake is carried by a rescue worker as emergency services continue to take families to safety, after flooding in Nantgarw, Wales, as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
Rescue operations continue as emergency services take residents of Oxford Street, Nantgarw to safety on inflatable rafts, after flooding in Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
A member of the public wades through floodwaters in Nantgarw, Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
Rescue operations continue after flooding in Nantgarw, Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
A footbridge in Pontypridd is blocked by debris after Storm Dennis hits the UK.
Several men work on a broken down car which was affected by floodwater in Pontypridd after Storm Dennis hits the UK.
A flooded street in Pontypridd after Storm Dennis hits the UK, leading to widespread flooding.
Residents picking up sandbags in Gloucester Road in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, where pumps and flood barriers have been put in to help to keep the water from flooding homes following the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
One-year-old Blake and his mum, Terri O'Donnel, join other residents of Nantgarw in a rescue boat as emergency services take people to safety, after flooding in the village in Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
A firefighter carries a dog to safety as part of ongoing rescue operations due to flooding in Nantgarw, Wales after Storm Dennis hit the UK.
Waves pound against the harbour wall at Portreath, Cornwall, as the UK is hit with weather disruption for the second weekend in a row as Storm Dennis sweeps in.
Rescue operations continue as emergency services take residents of Oxford Street, Nantgarw to safety, after flooding in Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
Geneeral view of emergency vehicles and personnel, as they continue with rescue operations due to flooding in Nantgarw, Wales after Storm Dennis hit the UK.
A car drives through a flooded road in the village of Findern in Derbyshire after Storm Dennis floods parts of the UK.
A car drives through a flooded road in the village of Findern in Derbyshire after Storm Dennis floods parts of the UK.
A tree which was blown over by Storm Dennis in Birkenshaw on the outskirts of Bradford, Leeds.
A member of the public is rescued after flooding in Nantgarw, Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
A member of the public is rescued from a flooded house in Oxford Street in Nantgarw, Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
UPTON UPON SEVEN, - FEBRUARY 19: Floodwaters surround Upton upon Seven following Storm Dennis on February 19, 2020 in Upton upon Seven, England. Storm Dennis is the second named storm to bring extreme weather in a week and follows in the aftermath of Storm Ciara. Although water is residing in many places flood warnings are still in places along the River Severn and it's tribuateries. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
In Pictures: Flood-hit areas prepare defences for further heavy rain
In Pictures: Flood-hit areas prepare defences for further heavy rain
In Pictures: Flood-hit areas prepare defences for further heavy rain
A woman checking the flood water in her garden, as pumps and flood barriers help to keep the water from flooding homes in Gloucester Road in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, following the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
A man rides a bike through flood water, as pumps and flood barriers help to keep the water from flooding homes in Gloucester Road in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, following the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Temporary flood barriers hold back the river Severn in Ironbridge, Shropshire, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
A flood barrier on Hylton road in Worcester after the river Severn burst its banks in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Flood water remains in Yalding, Kent, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Defra Environment Minister Rebecca Pow, and Anthony Perry, West Midlands Operations Manager at the Environment Agency look at the swollen river in Worcester from the Hylton road flood defences after the river Severn burst its banks in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Mountain Rescue team members attempt to rescue a man from his house that is surrounded by heavy flood water in Monmouth, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Ducks swimming in a back garden surrounded by flood water, Monmouth, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
A member of Lidl staff takes a look at flood water outside the back of the store in Monmouth, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Mountain Rescue team members attempt to rescue a man from his house that is surrounded by heavy flood water in Monmouth, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Flood water surrounds Upton upon Severn in Worcestershire.
Flood water surrounds Upton upon Severn in Worcestershire.
Flood water surrounds Upton upon Severn in Worcestershire.
Flood water surrounds Upton upon Severn in Worcestershire.
A man wades through flood water in Hereford.
Flood in Acaster Malbis, near York, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Flood water surrounds Upton upon Severn in Worcestershire.
Landlord Colin Reynolds walks through flood water in the Ship Inn in Acaster Malbis, near York, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
A Flood Warden delivering a vacuum cleaner through flooded streets in Hereford, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Dogs play in flood water York in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
A woman walks over a temporary bridge erected over flood water in York in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
A woman brushes water and debris from the Mary Stone Properties shopfront, which has been damaged by flood water, in Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Cars sit in the receding flood water in Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Cars sit in the receding flood water in Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Peter Maybury, a specialist carpet and upholstery cleaner, opening up a fridge full of flood water in a poperty on oxford street, Nantgarw, in south Wales, where residents are returning to their homes to survey and repair the damage in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Flood water in Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
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"I have very clear advice for everybody, which is not to panic, and to be sensible, stay well clear of any danger such as streams and rivers, and contact us in an emergency."

The force have told people in affected areas to stay indoors unless a journey was necessary, avoid waterways, and monitor local and social media for updates.

One of the worst-hit areas in South Wales was the village of Nantgarw, Rhondda Cynon Taff, near Cardiff, which had seen entire streets left underwater since the early hours of Sunday morning.

Emergency teams including firefighters and volunteers had been evacuating the village's Oxford Street since around 5am and were still working midday on Sunday.

Paul Mason, group manager of South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said the scene his team had faced was the worst he had experienced in his 31-year career.

Winter weather Feb 16th 2020

He said: "We started getting calls at 5am.

"The water was up to the window sills in some instances, so we sent a number of boats and crews down here to assist with our partner agencies, systematically going through each of the houses, knocking on doors, trying to prioritise individuals.

"This weather is unprecedented.

WEATHER Storm

"We haven't seen this, it's incredible, and it's right throughout the South Wales Valleys.

"In my 31 years in the service this is the worst I've ever seen.

"I've never experienced anything like this before."

He said some residents had refused to leave their homes despite being encouraged to, but would be monitored for their safety.

Resident Greg Curtis, 68, was rescued by lifeboat from the street around 1pm, said he and his wife were first woken by neighbours banging his home at 4am on Sunday morning, and described the incident as a "nightmare".

He said: "The water was about two feet up to my house.

"It just came really quick.

"I feel a bit miffed, but it is what it is.

"I've lived here for 46 years and we've never had anything like this here.

Winter weather Feb 16th 2020

"When the water comes down I'll go back and then we'll get into the insurance part and fight to get whatever."

Melanie Hughes, 38, was also evacuated by lifeboat with along with her husband and two daughters, said she was awoken by shouting and car alarms in the early hours, and said many of their family's possessions had been lost.

She said: "Everyone's safe, which is the main thing. We were lucky.

"But our cars, kitchen, furniture, it's all gone.

⚠️Provisional rainfall for last 48 hours (12pm today) ⚠️💦Maerdy (Rhondda) 163mm💦Crai Reservoir (Upper Usk) 162mm💦Tyn y Waun (Rhonnda) 156mm💦Nant Yr Isfa (Cynon) 154mm💦Storey Arms (Taff/Usk – Brecon Beacons) 135mm💦Hirwaun (Cynon) 135mm https://t.co/s7p34zZnKM#floodingpic.twitter.com/eAom1f9NfI

— Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru | Natural Resources Wales (@NatResWales) February 16, 2020

"It's going to be a couple of months of hard work, now.

"It was filthy, there was nothing to salvage."

Katherine Murphy, another evacuated resident, said: "Our downstairs is just a total mess.

"It's filthy everywhere, it smells, it's horrible.

"I went downstairs about 5am because an alarm was going, and I saw there was water coming in downstairs. It was really quick.

"Outside the cars were underwater."

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