Barrier saves London from 'flood chaos'

The Environment Agency has released a picture that shows the effects that the largest tidal surge in 60 years would have had on London if the Thames Barrier hadn't been closed.

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Thames Barrier 'saves London from flood chaos'

This Environment Agency picture shows the effects that the largest tidal surge in 60 years would have had on London if the Thames Barrier hadn't been closed.

Flooded London
The Environment Agency says larges sections of London would have flooded if it were not for the Thames Barrier. Credit: Environment Agency

Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes down the east coast of the country during storms last week.

But the 520 metre barrier saved London from the worst effects when it was shut on Thursday and Friday.

Latest flood warnings from the Environment Agency

The latest flood warning from the Environment Agency shows the nearest advice to London. The Thames Barrier is being closed tonight with the strongest tidal surge in 60 years predicted.

Gravesend, Denton and Greenhithe

High tides will flood properties in this Flood Warning Area. High spring tides, combined with a prolonged surge, mean that water levels are forecast to be very high. This poses a serious risk for both high tides on Friday.

Forecast wind speeds are northwesterly force 4 to 7. Water levels may be dangerously high before the predicted astronomical tidal peak. This is because the surge is raising water levels before the peak of the astronomical tide.

Source: Environment Agency

Environment Agency flood map Credit: Environment Agency

Get a full weather forecast from Martin Stew here

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Severe flood warning for worst tidal surge in 60 years

This is the latest advice from the Environment Agency, which has significantly increased warnings for London and the South East today:

The coastline from Wells-next-the-Sea in Norfolk to Clacton, Essex, is particularly at risk, including Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft. Parts of Great Yarmouth are being evacuated.

Severe flood warnings are currently in place across Kent.

Some defences could be overtopped by the combined effect of high tides, high winds and a large tidal surge.

Environment Agency flood map Credit: Environment Agency

In some areas, sea levels could be higher than those during the devastating floods of 1953. However, flood defences built since then - including the Thames and Hull Barriers - mean that many parts of the country are much better protected than in 1953.

Source: Environment Agency

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