Thou­sands flee homes as east coast awaits ma­jor flood­ing

Army called in with ‘dan­ger of life’ alerts in Nor­folk, Suf­folk and Es­sex

The Press and Journal (Highlands & Islands) - - News -

Thou­sands of peo­ple are be­ing evac­u­ated from their homes as Bri­tain’s east coast­line pre­pares for se­vere flood­ing.

The En­vi­ron­ment Agency (EA) has is­sued 17 se­vere warn­ings - which warn of dan­ger to life - with those in Nor­folk, Suf­folk and Es­sex most un­der threat.

The east coast will be hit by the storm surge dur­ing the se­cond high tide with gale- force winds and higher than usual tides ex­pected to bring waves crash­ing over coastal de­fences.

Evac­u­a­tions were un­der way last night in Great Yar­mouth in Nor­folk, Jay­wick, Mist­ley and Mersea in Es­sex, and res­i­dents in 1,800 prop­er­ties in East Suf­folk are also be­ing told to leave their homes.

Rest cen­tres have been set up for res­i­dents in ar­eas af­fected by the flood­ing.

Nor­folk Po­lice was work­ing with the fire ser­vice­and theArmy to visit more than 5,000 prop­er­ties in Great Yar­mouth ahead of a storm surge at high tide.

Su­per­in­ten­dent Dave Buck­ley, who is co-or­di­nat­ing the re­sponse, said: “We un­der­stand peo­ple will be anx­ious but this ac­tion is nec­es­sary on the back of the lat­est in­for­ma­tion from the En­vi­ron­ment Agency, which sug­gests the threat is sig­nif­i­cant.

“Mil­i­tary re­sources – around 200 troops – are en route and will start ar­riv­ing shortly to as­sist with the evac­u­a­tion process and we also have ad­di­tional po­lice re­sources in place to man­age this re­sponse.”

In Suf­folk, Low­est­oft and Waveney are ex­pected to be the ar­eas worst af­fected by flood­ing.

Train pas­sen­gers head­ing to and from Low­est­oft were not able to travel af­ter 8pm­last night, Greater Anglia and Net­work Rail said.

The EA has moved more than five miles (8km) of tem­po­rary bar­ri­ers and 25 pump­sto de­pot­sand­towns along the east coast.

The Chief Fire Of­fi­cers As­so­ci­a­tion said it had mo­bilised 15 fire and res­cue ser­vices to as­sist in Lin­colnshire, Nor­folk, Suf­folk and Hum­ber­side.

While the first high tide in the early hours passed with­out ma­jor in­ci­dent, there were fears that the se­cond tide last night could be higher than an­tic­i­pated.

EA na­tional duty man­ager Mark Sit­ton- Kent said: “The com­bi­na­tion of gale- force winds, high tides, dan­ger­ous waves car­ry­ing rocks and a coastal surge means parts of the east coast are ex­tremely dan­ger­ous.

“We have is­sued se­vere flood warn­ings and urge ev­ery­one to check their flood risk and en­sure they are in a safe place.”

The flood­ing threat comes as Bri­tain is bat­tered by win­try con­di­tions, with se­vere Met Of­fice weather warn­ings for ice in place across the coun­try.

Scot­land and the North of Eng­land were cov­ered with a blan­ket of snow.

SPEC­TAC­U­LAR: Waves crash into the sea wall at Sea­ham Har­bour, County Durham, as a storm surge hits Eng­land’s east coast

A res­i­dent moves an air bed into the Ten­dring cen­tre

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