HIGH winds and torrential rain caused misery in Gwent yesterday as the Christmas getaway began and supermarkets were busy with festive shoppers.
The Met Office issued an amber “be prepared” warning, predicting gale force winds and flooding likely to cause significant disruption, due to a deep area of low pressure sweeping across the country.
So torrential was the downpour that the Met Office listed Tredegar as having the second highest rainfall total in the country between midnight and 12pm, with 28.4mm.
Blaenau Gwent was hit particularly hard. The roundabout at the bottom of Cemetery Road, Ebbw Vale, was closed due to flooding, as was the A4048 between Blackwood and Tredegar, while Gwent Police advised drivers to avoid Beaufort Road, Sirhowy. Stable Lane, Tredegar was also blocked for a time while a car was stuck in 18 inches of water.
By mid-afternoon South Wales Fire and Rescue Service were called to deal with three houses that had been flooded and to flooding close to the McDonald’s near the A4046 in Ebbw Vale. Blaenant industrial estate in Brynmawr was also closed due to flooding.
Gerald Piper, who owns GRP Light Haulage and Warehousing in the Crown Business Park in Tredegar, saw about half of his warehouse flooded
Natural Resources Wales asked people to remain vigilant as the heavy rain and strong winds was expected to continue into today (Tue).
They also warned people to take care near fast-flowing and swollen rivers, including the River Usk, Monmouth and Newport.
At 2pm in Usk yesterday, the river was 1.28 metres and rising, where the typical range is between 0.28 metres and 1.32 metres.
Social media users also reported river banks bursting in Abergavenny.
The Environment Agency also issued amber flood alerts for rivers Rivers Ebbw, Sirhowy and Lwyd in Blaenau Gwent.
In Abergavenny, motorists had problems using Monmouth Road between the Hardwick roundabout and the Plas Derwen Way.
While in Torfaen, Pontypool Active Living Centre was closed half way through the day due to the weather, and there was also flooding on Snatchwood Road and Snatchwood Court in Abersychan
A Gwent Police spokesman urged people to only make journeys “if absolutely necessary”.
“We have had issues reported force wide and the bad weather conditions are set to continue over the next few days,” they said.
Rail services were suspended between Newport and Hereford, due to flooding at Nantyderry, between Pontypool and Abergavenny.
It forced ticket restrictions to be lifted allowing for use on any train, extending it to journeys booked for today.
The M48 Severn Bridge was closed to high sided vehicles and one lane was closed between Chepstow and Aust because of strong winds.
Simon Williams of the RAC said the organisation was about ten per cent busier than normal.
The bad weather amber warning was due to remain in place until 6am this morning, the Met Office said.
The manager of Festival Park shopping centre in Ebbw Vale, Gareth Thomas, said: “Like everywhere we have had a lot of rain but it has not put off local customers. It has been one of our busiest Christmases ever.”
Shoppers in Newport also packed into supermarkets to stock up on supplies.
A Tesco spokeswoman said: “All our stores in Newport are extremely busy today, so colleagues are doing all they can to help customers.”
Darren Jenkins, the deputy manager of the Sainsbury’s store in Pontllanfraith, said the store would remain open until midnight to cope with demand.