Flooding hits the East of England

The big clean up is underway after one of the biggest storm surges since 1953 hit the region last week. Thousands were evacuated from their homes and power was lost in many parts of the region. Transport networks also suffered.

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Tidal barrier protects Norfolk coastal town

At Wells-next-the-Sea in Norfolk the damage was not as bad a many had feared.

Preparations by the Environment Agency to install a temporary tidal barrier last night, paid off. But, that was not the case for the Wells Lifeboat station, which was left damaged by the storm.

This morning High tides are expected to bring flooding to Wells Quay at around 8.40am.

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Thousands spend night in rest centres

Thousands of people spent the night in rest centres - after the east coast was hit by, what is thought to be, the worst storm surge since 1953.

Homes and businesses in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, were evacuated last night. Across the East 27 severe flood warnings are still in place with another high tide expected in the next two hours.

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Weather affects power supplies in the East

Power supplies have been turned off in some areas to protect electrical equipment from the risk of flooding.

UK Power Networks said they have turned some supplies off for safety reason. Some homes may be affected, even if not directly flooded.

A spokesperson said: "We have installed flood prevention measures at key substations in at risk coastal areas. If there’s a possibility that flood water will affect our equipment our first priority must always be safety."

Power cuts are currently affecting parts of:

  • Cambridgeshire
  • Essex
  • Suffolk
  • Norfolk
  • Bedfordshire

Cromer Pier closed in the interest of public safety following storm damage

Storm surge hits Cromer Pier. Credit: Charlie Crafer

Cromer Pier has been closed in the interests of public safety, as a result of damaged sustained during yesterday's storm.

Elsewhere in North Norfolk, rest centres in Holt and Wells are now shut as they are no longer needed.

The Lighthouse at Walcott remains open and is busy and, as a result, people are being directed, where possible, to Stalham Sports Hall where there is more capacity.

Currently there is a total of 50-60 people based at the Stalham and Walcott centres.

There has been some damage to shops and cafes in Wells, but shop owners are aware and premises are being boarded up.


Lifeboat boathouse becomes a victim of the storm

Wells all weather lifeboat rescuing a boat in trouble in May 2013. Credit: Wells Lifeboat

For over a hundred years Wells lifeboat station has withstood the ravages of the sea, sited as it is on the beach at Wells-Next-the-Sea. But last night, it couldn’t quite withstand the ravages of the huge tide which struck the North-Norfolk coastline.

The crew were standing by at the station to cover any emergency when huge waves swept through the boathouse reaching an estimated height of ten feet at the highest point of the tide.

The weight of the water smashed the door of the inshore lifeboat shed and surged through the main boathouse where the all-weather lifeboat is housed. At one stage it rocked the lifeboat which was strapped to its launching carriage.

Then when the tide receded it left behind in the boathouse around twenty tons of shingle and gravel.

Lifeboat Operations Manager, Chris Hardy, said, “I’ve never seen anything like it. We had to open the doors at both ends of the main boathouse to let the sea surge through. Otherwise it would have taken these doors out too.”

As it was, one corner of the boathouse has its outer cladding ripped off and interior wooden panelling was damaged. Memory boards of historic launches had to be removed hurriedly from the walls to prevent them from being damaged by the sea.

The crew have been up most of the night mopping up after the damage.

Repairs are expected to begin today.

Rescue centre set up in Ipswich as tide expected to hit at 2:00am

A local authority rescue centre has been set up in Ipswich as unusually high water is expected in the town. The high tide hit Lowestoft and other areas of the Suffolk coast earlier this evening and is expected to hit Ipswich at around 2am.

Police officers are in the process of visiting homes in the area of the town that are potentially at risk. A local authority centre has been set up at Maidenhall Sports Centre on Maidenhall Approach, Ipswich, IP2 8NZ.

Public safety warning in Great Yarmouth

Police in Yarmouth are urging ‘sightseers’ – who are placing their safety at significant risk – to avoid the seafront and North Quay areas of the town.

Police are highlighting three main areas of concern:

  • People still trying to drive and walk across the flooded area of North Quay, which is now closed.
  • Pedestrians, in particular, are at risk from walking through the flood water, which can conceal open manholes and dangerous obstructions, with the water frequently containing sewerage.
  • In the Gorleston area, from Riverside Road to the Ocean Rooms, and on to the beach and amusements, large crowds – are gathering very close to the seafront. There are serious concerns for their safety and police officers will be visiting this area to urge these groups away from danger.
  • Haven Bridge is also now closed and people are standing on the bridge trying to get a better view of the flooding.

"Some of these people have no concept of the danger they are putting themselves in and we are urging pedestrians to keep away from the flood water and sea front and for traffic to avoid the town centre.

"Acle New Road, between Breydon Bridge and North Quay has also recently been closed to traffic as a result of flood water."

– Chief Inspector Kate Thacker, Norfolk Police
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