Around 400 people are forced to leave their homes after flooding in north Wales

Image caption Rhyl was one of the areas worst affected by flooding
Image caption A man stands up to his waist in flood water in a residential street in Rhyl
Marine Crescent, Deganwy
Image caption Marine Crescent in Deganwy was flooded
Rhyl rescue
Image caption Residents were rescued from flood waters in Rhyl
Old Colwyn
Image caption High tides caused problems at Old Colwyn
Kinmel Bay
Image caption Roads in Kinmel Bay were submerged by flood water
Image caption Residents were evacuated in parts of Rhyl
Waves crash over the sea wall at Porth Eirias, Colwyn Bay
Image caption Waves crash over the sea wall at Porth Eirias, Colwyn Bay
Tree blown down at Chester Road, Wrexham
Image caption Tree blown down at Chester Road, Wrexham
Seafront at Aberystwyth
Image caption Waves crash onto the seafront at Aberystwyth

About 400 people were forced to leave their homes after high tides and gale force winds battered north Wales causing flooding.

In Rhyl, Denbighshire - one of the worst-hit areas - evacuees are being cared for at the town's leisure centre, and 400 properties are without power.

Many were ferried to safety by the RNLI and emergency services.

Another high tide is expected in the area just after midnight, but serious flooding is not expected.

Thursday's storm hit the coastline about lunchtime causing major disruption with roads closed, schools shut and trains stopped.

Two severe warnings - suggesting there was a danger to life - had been issued for the area earlier on Thursday.

In Rhyl, one of the worst affected areas, a rest centre has been set up at the leisure centre for residents and schoolchildren forced to leave buildings because of the tidal surge.

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Media captionHomes and cars were underwater in Rhyl

At one point, up to 400 people were being cared for there, but about 90 remained by Thursday evening.

Denbighshire council said 400 properties were without power, in addition to the homes that had been affected by flooding.

At least 25 residents and six dogs were rescued and two inshore lifeboats manned by RNLI crews and assisted by the fire service ferried people to safety from flooded bungalows in Rhyl.

At the height of the flooding, the fire service dealt with 34 flood related calls in a four hour period.

Red Cross volunteers were also helping in Rhyl, sending 4x4 vehicles to help with evacuations.

All of the flood warnings were lifted across north Wales at about 16:00 GMT including the highest state of alert at Greenfield, Bagillt and Point of Ayr.

Earlier, people living near the River Dee at Saltney, Flintshire said they could not remember the river being so high and several cars were caught in the flood water.

A BBC reporter at Talacre, Flintshire said the area was "like a ghost town an hour and a half after the evacuation.

"The Dee estuary is bubbling away like a broth."

There were reports that the defences had broken.

During the height of the storm, scaffolding being used in roof repairs at an Aldi store in Mold, Flintshire, collapsed onto cars in high winds.

An Aldi spokesperson said: "Although nobody was hurt in the incident, we immediately evacuated the store."

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) had warned that high tides and gale force winds could "cause sea surges at their highest levels for the last 10 years, possibly 20 years".

Strong winds of between 60-70mph (97-113km/h) had been reported on the Llyn peninsula on Thursday morning.

The NRW had urged people to keep away from sea fronts and said emergency response workers were at "key sites".

Roads in Wrexham were also affected by fallen trees. Emergency teams went to Ruabon, Johnstown and Wrexham bypass, among other areas.

Flintshire Bridge which straddles the Dee at Connah's Quay was closed.

Meanwhile, Virgin Trains stopped services between Chester and Holyhead.

And Arriva Trains Wales said some of its services had been hit.

The flooding was caused by a storm surge from a combination of low pressure and winds of up to 70 mph, causing water to pile high.

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Media captionEmergency services continue to search through homes to check that no-one is trapped.

At high tide, the sea level rose by at least a metre above usual levels.

The highest wind speed was 77mph inland at Capel Curig in Conwy.

Elsewhere, a 50 tonne tree fell on top of a car, blocking the A40 near Crickhowell, Powys.

Those inside were taken to hospital Dyfed-Powys Police said they are not believed to be seriously injured.

A Welsh government spokesperson said: "We are in contact with the UK Government on the general situation, and with Natural Resources Wales and responder agencies in Wales on conditions in North Wales."

The Met Office expects the worst of Thursday's weather to hit north and west Scotland and parts of north and eastern England, and has issued an amber "be prepared" warning.

Flood alerts updates and information are available on Floodline 0845 988 11 88.

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