Fears a tidal surge on the scale of the December 2013 disaster could hit East Anglia this week
- Credit: citizenside.com
Emergency services are to meet today to discuss how they would handle a storm surge should it hit the East Anglian coast later in the week.
Experts are currently monitoring a developing weather pattern, which they have said could create conditions for a storm surge on the scale of the one that hit Norfolk and parts of Suffolk overnight on December 5/6 2013.
The surge caused devastation to towns and villages right along the coast, Bryony Nierop-Reading home in Beach Road, Happisburgh teetering on the edge of the cliff, flooding out the Harbour Inn pub at Southwold and forcing many from their homes.
The Environment Agency has yet to issue an official warning, but locally those agencies involved are meeting to discuss how they may be able to reduce the impact, support residents and prevent tragedy.
Those attending – including representatives from the 999 services and councils – had been due to take part in a scheduled “support group” exercise on how to deal with mass power cuts but they have amended the agenda in light of these latest concerns.
Roy Harold, Norfolk’s chief fire officer, said: “Since we are all in the same venue, it will be a good opportunity to look at the weather forecasts and come up with some plans, so we are ready if needed.”
He added: “The main public message is that if we get a tidal surge like we had in December 2013 – which we could – then don’t go out and see the show.
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“In 2013 we gave lots of evacuation messages but quite a few people decided to stay and watch, and the surge was almost a tourist attraction in places like Great Yarmouth.”
The Environment Agency issued precautionary messages to 999 teams on Friday, amid concern over a developing low-pressure system, which could cause damaging storm surges in the east/south-east region, between Tuesday and Thursday.
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Alison Hamilton, senior flood warden for Bacton, said: “I am monitoring the tide tables to see how high they are and we have been out watching the waves and keeping an eye out. It hasn’t got to an alert stage yet but it depends on the wind direction and whether it’s high or low pressure.”
Jerry Woodley, coastguard station officer for Sheringham, said: “If the sea is being really rough we advise those to be careful on the promenade and to use common sense. We know that a lot of people like to watch the storm, but be aware that you could be swept off your feet.”