1. ITV Report

Police defend decision to advise flood evacuation

Police have confirmed homeowners are safe to return Photo: ITV Anglia

Police have defended the decision to ask people to leave their homes although the storm surge didn't lead to any serious flooding.

Essex Police said there was no flooding at Jaywick.

They said 230 people from the village went to the rest centre in Clacton after warnings of the potential for severe flooding.

No one attended the rest centre in West Mersea. Police say asking people to leave their homes was still the right thing.

See Kate Prout's report from across the region here.

I am absolutely clear that the collective decision to evacuate residents in Jaywick and to provide a rest centre in West Mersea for people should it be required was the right thing to do.
This decision was based on science and the expert advice from the Environment Agency and the Met Office. This will have been exactly what our counterparts along the East coast of the country will have been doing in order to come to similar decisions. We prepare for the worst case scenario and we would be happy to take the same decision again should we be faced with the same advice as we have had over the last 36 hours.”

– Essex Police Deputy Chief Constable Matthew Horne

Thousands were evacuated as the Environment Agency issued 17 severe warnings - which warn of danger to life - with people in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex told they were most at risk.

The risk of flooding in Great Yarmouth was expected to peak at about 9.30pm on Friday but people's worst fears were not realised.

Charles Osborne, 52, from Great Yarmouth, said: "The river did get pretty high but I didn't think it would ever go over the walls. I guess it was a lot of panicking but you can't be too careful."

Lynda Freeman, 31, of Norfolk, said: "I'm just glad it's all over. Seeing the army on the streets and the warnings did get me a bit anxious."

Police in Norfolk say thousands of people advised to leave their homes over flood fears can now return safely.

Norfolk Police say the storm surge down the East Coast did not lead to any significant problems and rest centres are now being closed.

Some flood defences have suffered minor damage and they'll be checked over the coming days.

Emergency services will continue to offer help to vulnerable members of the community and local authorities will now be offering transport and support for those few residents unable to return to properties affected by flood damage.

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