The Environment Agency has issued 26 severe flood warnings – its highest category – ahead of the most serious coastal tidal surge for over 60 years in England.

Communities along the North Sea coast from Northumberland down to the Thames Estuary and Kent, in addition to those on the Irish Sea coast from Cumbria down to Cheshire, could see significant coastal flooding later today and into Friday. The coastline from Wells-next-the-Sea in Norfolk to Clacton, Essex, is particularly at risk, including Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

Severe flood warnings are currently in place across Kent, Norfolk and Suffolk. People along the eastern coast, and some parts of the north west coast, are being urged to take urgent action to prepare for flooding today (Thursday) and into the early hours of Friday. The Environment Agency is likely to issue further severe flood warnings in the coming hours.

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

At present (as of 1100), there are an additional 137 flood warnings and 61 flood alerts in place across England.

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. Farmers are being urged to protect their livestock and consider moving them out of affected areas.

Natural Resources Wales, the organisation which leads on flooding in Wales, is urging people to along the north Wales coast to take immediate action to protect themselves and their properties from flooding.

For the latest flood warnings in the north west please visit