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UK: Environment Agency issues multiple severe flood warnings for worst tidal surge in 60 years

By Environment Agency — last modified Dec 05, 2013 01:08 PM
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.

Published: 2013-12-05 00:00:00
Topics: Weather
Countries: United Kingdom

UK: Environment Agency issues multiple severe flood warnings for worst tidal surge in 60 years

© Environment Agency

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.

Evacuations are taking place in some areas, including Great Yarmouth, by the emergency services and people are urged to follow any instructions by the police.

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.

The Environment Agency will be closing its Thames Barrier tonight (Thursday) to defend London, in addition to operating numerous other defences such as those at Colne in Essex and Kings Lynn in Norfolk.

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.

John Curtin, the Environment Agency’s Head of Incident Management, said: “Flooding of coastal communities along the eastern and north west coasts is expected today and into Friday. Some defences could be overtopped by the combined effect of high tides, high winds and a large tidal surge.

“People are being urged to check the Environment Agency website or follow @EnvAgency and #floodaware on Twitter for the latest flood outlook, and to sign up to receive free flood warnings.

“The Environment Agency continues to monitoring the situation closely, working alongside partners including the emergency services, Met Office and local authorities. Our teams have been out in force checking that flood defences and barriers are in good working order, monitoring sea levels and issuing flood warnings.

“Coastal paths and promenades will be highly dangerous as there is an increased risk of people being swept out to sea.”

Environment Agency flood warnings, updated every 15 minutes

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