Video: 27 people rescued in Suffolk following night of flooding - but threat level is now downgraded

The Southwold beach huts damaged by the tidal surge  Photo: Southwold Lifeboat The Southwold beach huts damaged by the tidal surge Photo: Southwold Lifeboat

Friday, December 6, 2013
11:54 AM

Hundreds of people in Suffolk and north-east Essex were forced to flee their homes as the worst tidal surge in 60 years swept down the East Anglian coast last night.

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Some of the damaged beach huts in Southwold this morning

Picture: Two Magpies BakerySome of the damaged beach huts in Southwold this morning Picture: Two Magpies Bakery

Emergency services launched rescue services as the severe weather brought fierce winds and flooding, battering coastal communities and causing widespread damage.

The Environment Agency said in some areas of East Anglia, particuarly in north Norfolk, it was “worse than the 1953 flood

A total of 14 severe flood warnings were issued for Suffolk before the storms but by 9.30am today all had been downgraded by Environment Agency. It dropped from at least 35 in East Anglia yesterday to seven this morning.

Some 65 properties flooded in East Anglia overnight while 170 people stayed overnight in emergency rest centres in Suffolk.

More than 25 people were rescued by firefighters in the county, while 1,000 homes in Suffolk, 1,200 in Essex and 1,500 properties in Norfolk were without power at midnight. This morning it had reduced to 150 in Suffolk, 120 in Essex and 100 in Norfolk.

Fears have been allayed over resurgent floods today. High tides expected at Lowestoft at around 11.40am, Felixstowe at 1.40pm and Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, at 2pm but the Environment Agency said they will not be “as severe” with lower water levels expected.

There were no reports of any injuries during the storms.

Lowestoft, Southwold, Felixstowe and Ipswich were last night flooded as the storm surge hit Suffolk.
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Water levels were worse than 60 years ago in parts of Norfolk, which bore the brunt of the storms. It was slightly lower than expected in Great Yarmouth and “was touch and go” but did not breach sea defences in Jaywick, Essex, which saw hundreds flee their homes by the seafront yesterday.

A man and his teenage daughter were rescued from their car in Ipswich overnight.
Four schools in Lowestoft have confirmed they will not be opening this morning. They are Woods Loke CP School, Westwood Primary School, Fen Park CP School and Meadow CP School.

All other schools in Suffolk are set to open as normal.

The A12 at Blythburgh is closed in both directions due to flooding while rail passengers will face problems travelling to London and around the county this morning.
Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service attended 18 flood and fire related incidents, rescuing 27 people.

Meanwhile, communities have today launched clean-up operations following a night of storms and floods.

An emergency evacuation has been launched in Southwold due to “rising sea levels”.

Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said the multi-agency response will consider the “potential risks” at lunchtime today and again at midnight in to Saturday.

Tim Newcomb, assistant chief constable at Suffolk Constabulary, who is leading the multi-agency response, warned “it is not over yet”.

“The multi-agency responders to this incident have been working incredibly hard throughout the night to minimise the risk to Suffolk residents,” he said.

“We want to ensure that our plans for the next 24 hours are appropriate in order to address the next two potentially significant tide levels which will be at lunchtime and midnight.

“There is always an element of uncertainty when trying to predict the natural environment but we will keep the public informed about our plans and approach.

“At the same time we also need to start to think about what needs to be done to clear up.”

The force has deployed additional resources on the ground to make personal visits to the homes in affected areas to provide advice and guidance around safety and potential evacuation.

Essex Police warned people to stay away from affected areas “as they could be putting themselves in danger”.

“Police are receiving information that people are going to the area to watch the flooding”, a force spokesman said.

“The high seas and rising water is unpredictable and the emergency services do not want to have to rescue people who have put themselves in potentially dangerous situations.”

A UK Powers Network spokesman said: “The electricity network in the East of England remains undamaged by flood waters and we are working hard to begin restoring power to anyone whose homes have been flooded.

“Where there are pockets of individual homes without power because they have been flooded, our engineers will switch the mains supply on again as soon as it is safely possible but this could take some time as the water needs to recede first.

“Some homes may be part of the affected area even if they are not directly flooded.

“UK Power Networks engineers have worked hard throughout the night to restore electricity to the majority of customers whose supplies were affected by yesterday’s high winds.

“Customers can call 0800 7838838, or see twitter or our website for latest information.”

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