‘Tidal surge sweeps past east coast of England’

14 11 2007

The biggest tidal surge in over 50 years threatened the coastline of East Anglia, along the east coast of England, leading to severe flood risks. Up to 7500 people were evacuated from their homes after the Environment Agency gave warning of “extreme danger to life and property” in coastal areas of Norfolk and Suffolk. Water levels reached their highest, 2.75m, between 7am and 8am, although the prediction had estimated a peak of 30cm higher. There were no injuries or deaths, unlike a similar event in 1953 in which 300 people died. There wasn’t even any flooding to properties reported and some people even took advantage of the wave and spent the day surfing. However, hundreds faced upheaval and uncertainty, and the temporary housing in local schools and other public buildings left many with inadequate shelter and food. Many schools were closed for the day and roads and rail links were shut. Officials said there had been no reports of flood defences being broken although there had been some flooding of coastal roads because of the height of the waves.

‘Temporary flood barriers were fitted during the night around an electricity substation in Great Yarmouth to protect power supplies’ and the Dartford Creek and Thames barriers were closed to prevent widespread flooding. Gordon Brown said the Government was standing ready to help any local communities affected by the tidal surge – “Our first priority is to ensure people are safe, and that’s why over the course of yesterday and throughout the night we have been bringing in the helicopters, the sandbags, the preparations that are absolutely necessary so that people are safe”.

Related links

Q&A: flood insurance

Thousands evacuate ahead of storm surge

Pictures: UK floods

Source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article2839078.ece (November 9, 2007)