Floodwaters pour into couple’s car after advice to use risky parking
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A holidaying couple were horrified after unwittingly leaving their car in a flood hotspot which then became submerged when a river burst its banks.
Jason Knaepel visited Wales with his wife, Chloe, to celebrate her 32nd birthday but the trip became a soggy nightmare.
Having climbed Snowdon and toured Conwy Castle, the couple was set for one final night in Llanrwst before returning home to Cambridgeshire.
However, due to their Airbnb’s lack of parking spaces, they say their host suggested leaving their vehicle at Gwydyr car park across the River Conwy.
Chloe told North Wales Live: “When we first arrived in Llanrwst, the river was so low, there was a couple walking along the riverbed at the side.
“On Sunday we returned to Llanrwst at about 4pm and although the weather was changing, we didn’t think anything of it.
“But the next morning, at 7am, we looked out from our window and saw that everywhere was flooded.”
Wading through the floodwater, Jason and Chloe discovered their Seat Leon was submerged to its windows.
“The water had forced the boot open, so it must have been running with some force,” said Chloe.
“We were in a state of shock and utter disbelief about what to do next.”
When they called their insurers, the couple were told nothing could be done until water had receded below the car’s exhaust pipe.
It left them wondering why there were no signs at a known flood hotspot warning the car park was liable to flooding.
With snowmelt still cascading down from the mountains, and more rain in the forecast, the couple feared being stranded in Llanrwst for days.
Looking for a bit of local knowledge, Chloe turned to Facebook’s Llanrwst Flood Action Group – and was inundated with offers of help.
One came from North Wales Recovery, based in Llandudno Junction.
“They were wonderful,” she said. “I don’t know how they did it, but they put on dry suits and managed to pull it out.
“One told me they’d retrieved a campervan from the same car park last year.
“The driver had gone to sleep in the van only to be awoken by water pouring in – he had to swim to safety!”
On Tuesday, March 14, they finally made it back to Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, in a hire car – a day later than planned but glad to be home.
As their car had been the only vehicle in Gwydyr car park on Sunday night, they have been wondering if flood warnings are adequate for visitors with no knowledge of the area. Locals agreed.
“It’s odd that the Airbnb owners did not warn you of the risk,” a resident told Chloe on Facebook.
“The torrential rain and all the snow in the hills should have meant something to them.”
Alerted to the couple’s plight, Llanrwst deputy mayor Mostyn Jones has relayed a request for a “car park liable to flooding” sign to local county councillors.
“It’s a Conwy county car park, so it would be up to them whether or not to have a sign,” he said.
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