UK coastal towns braced for floods as evacuations begin

UK coastal towns braced for floods as evacuations begin
Calm before the storm. Seafront homes in Jaywick, Essex. Picture: PA

Warnings of life-threatening floods are in place along the east coast of Britain as the UK is battered by heavy rain, high winds and snow.

The UK Environment Agency upped its warning as police prepared to evacuate thousands of residents of Jaywick, Essex, and soldiers have been deployed to Skegness on the Lincolnshire coast where about 3,000 residents have been urged to leave their homes or move upstairs.

Scotland and the north of England were covered in a blanket of snow while the east coast is due to be hit by a storm surge at lunchtime today.

Elsewhere, the UK’s Met Office has issued severe weather warnings across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for combinations of high winds, snow and ice.

The British Environment Agency’s 12 severe flood warnings - which warn of a threat to life - are in place for coastal areas of Essex and Suffolk while dozens of flood warnings have been imposed as the east coast braces itself for a storm surge.

The warnings take in Clacton to Lee Wick, West Mersea, The Strood and adjacent marshland, and tidal River Stour at Mistley, including the Quay and the Walls, all in Essex.

Coastal communities in Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex have been told they should be prepared for large waves and possible flooding.

Emergency services were putting an evacuation plan into action in Jaywick, near Clacton-on-Sea in England, with police officers going door-to-door informing residents of the evacuation, beginning at 7am on Friday.

Some residents appeared reluctant to leave, with one saying she feared an empty village would be "rich pickings" for thieves.

Rebecca Kenny, 31, said: "While I know the police are putting on extra patrols, they can’t cover the whole area the whole time. "With the security risk I don’t really want to leave the house."

Environment Agency chief executive James Bevan said he did not "think" the storm would be as powerful as that which caused the east coast flood of 1953, which has been described as the worst national peacetime disaster to hit the UK, but said there could be "potentially significant effects" including flooding.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: "It’s very important to underline that there are two high tides today coming down the east coast, north to south.

"The first is coming in at the moment slightly under the height that we expected, the second, due this evening, may come out slightly higher than has been anticipated.

"And so we will stay very active throughout the day on the ground, we will continue to warn and inform the communities that are at risk, and I would like to urge everybody to remain vigilant and to continue to follow our flood warnings."

A woman runs in snowy conditions on the sea front at Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire, as Scotland and the North of England were covered in a blanket of snow while the east coast was braced for a storm surge. Picture: PA
A woman runs in snowy conditions on the sea front at Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire, as Scotland and the North of England were covered in a blanket of snow while the east coast was braced for a storm surge. Picture: PA

The Ministry of Defence said about 100 soldiers from the Catterick army base have been deployed to Skegness on the Lincolnshire coast.

Suffolk Police said specific areas of the coast had been identified as being at high risk of flooding - taking in around 1,100 properties which are likely to be evacuated.

Norfolk Police has said floods are a strong possibility in the region, and the force is anticipating the worst to be in Yarmouth, Walcott, King’s Lynn, Salthouse and Wells, between 7am and 10am, and 8pm to 10pm on Friday.

Temperatures plummeted with readings of minus 2C in parts of the East and South East during the early hours of Friday.

Some flights at Manchester Airport have been delayed due to snowy conditions.

A spokesman said: "We are experiencing some delays at the moment whilst aircraft get de-iced."

More on this topic

Watch this stunning drone footage of snow covered Wicklow MountainsWatch this stunning drone footage of snow covered Wicklow Mountains

Soaring temperatures prompt warning to travellers heading to parts of Europe Soaring temperatures prompt warning to travellers heading to parts of Europe

What’s the weather like for the rest of the bank holiday weekend?What’s the weather like for the rest of the bank holiday weekend?

No let up on the cold todayNo let up on the cold today

More in this Section

Hong Kong descends into chaos as protesters defy rally banHong Kong descends into chaos as protesters defy rally ban

Boeing says it regrets concerns over internal 737 Max messagesBoeing says it regrets concerns over internal 737 Max messages

Showdown for Johnson on crunch vote as Labour seeks to hijack Brexit legislationShowdown for Johnson on crunch vote as Labour seeks to hijack Brexit legislation

Australian newspapers campaign against government secrecyAustralian newspapers campaign against government secrecy


Lifestyle

John’s chairs will last a lifetime, but he is also passing on his knowledge to a new generation, writes Ellie O’Byrne.Made in Munster: The ancient art of súgán-making is woven into Irish family history

More From The Irish Examiner