David Cameron surveyed the extent of the flood damage as he visited a town hit by last week's tidal surge.Read the full story ›
David Cameron surveyed the extent of the flood damage in north Norfolk today as he visited a town hit by last week's tidal surge.
The Prime Minister met residents of Wells-next-the-Sea whose properties were damaged as the tide reached the highest level on record.
Mr Cameron paid tribute to the emergency services and flood wardens for their response, but said more could be done.
He said: "These were terrible floods and it was a very difficult event but the resilience of people here in Norfolk must be praised."
Charlie Hall, Deputy Chief Constable of Norfolk Police, said that in places the waters exceeded the levels seen in the storm surge of 1953:
In places, water levels were higher than those experienced in the flooding of 1953, when many people lost their lives.
Thankfully that has not been the case on this occasion, a combination of improved defences in place and the concerted efforts of the community, the emergency services and the agencies that have worked to support the evacuation and keep people informed.
Following a meeting of the Government's Cobra emergencies committee, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson warned that the danger was not over:
There will still be exceptionally high tides today and tomorrow and I would ask everybody to pay very close attention to advice from the Environment Agency and also to follow instructions from the police, local government and the emergency services.
The Environment Agency has updated an interactive map showing where the storm has hit hardest. It includes detail on 54 flood warnings, where there is a danger to life, along with 124 flood warnings, and 70 flood alerts.
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.
ITV News Anglia's Malcolm Robertson brings you the latest news from Great Yarmouth ahead of tonight's tidal surge.
People living near Wells Quayside in Norfolk are being told to evacuate their homes ahead of the predicted tidal surge this evening.
For advice on keeping safe, click here.
A three year licence to carry out maintenance dredging at Wells Harbour in Norfolk has been granted. It follows months of delay as the Marine Management Organisation investigated the possible environmental impact.
The harbour master welcomed the news as beneficial to the local economy, saying it guarantees safe access to the harbour for wind farm traffic, fishing and other vessels.