A massive tidal surge that could lead to disastrous flooding is threatening to hit the British east coast.
A flood expert told Sky News unless swift action is taken "we could have a significant number of deaths", as evacuations from the areas at risk began.
Highest surges will hit Rotterdam ( the Netherlands ) tomorrow morning :scared:
Nov 9th, 2007, 01:05 AM
This seems scary! Hope everyone in the area takes the warning seriously and gets out.
Nov 9th, 2007, 01:12 AM
A tidal surge in the North Sea has sparked severe flood warnings and evacuations on England's east coast. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has held an emergency Cobra committee meeting and the Environment Agency has warned of "extreme danger to life and property".
Norfolk and Suffolk have eight severe flood warnings. Parts of Essex, Lincs, North Yorks and Kent are also on alert.
Norfolk Police have visited 2,500 homes in Great Yarmouth to advise residents to leave the area.
They have been told to stay with family and friends outside the borough, or to move upstairs.
Environment Agency chief executive Baroness Young said some of the flood defences in Norfolk and Suffolk might not cope with the expected surge.
"I hope our defences can cope but this is a pretty severe weather event and some of them may not.
"And indeed on our current predictions some of them may be overtopped - even if they do stand up to the wave and wind activity."
'Wait and see'
She also suggested that people make checks on elderly relatives and neighbours.
In London the Thames Barrier was closed late on Thursday and tidal flood risk manager Andy Batchelor said it would contain the water.
"The high water here is at 1am and the tide will gradually build up... but be contained by the barrier and the walls that lead all the way out to the outer estuary - so London is safe," he said.
Speaking after the Cobra meeting, Environment Secretary Hilary Benn urged people in the affected areas to remain calm.
"We are doing all that we can but we are just going to have to wait and see what happens as the surge makes its way down," he said.
Norfolk Police, Norfolk County Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council evacuated people from care homes and hospitals.
Two rest centres have been set up in the county, as more people could be brought in during the night.
Residents in low-lying areas of the Suffolk coast were advised to leave their homes as up to 1,300 properties could be affected there.
A Suffolk Police spokeswoman said: "Those most likely to be vulnerable to flooding should leave their properties and seek shelter with friends and family outside the affected area if possible."
Leisure centres in Lowestoft and Leiston, as well as Beccles Public Hall, are being used as rest centres.
Meanwhile, in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, sandbags were being prepared for homes and businesses.
The flood alerts are a response to weather and tide patterns being tracked this week by the Environment Agency and the Met Office.
Wind speeds exceeding 50mph (80km/h) are predicted, with the storm surge expected to peak at about 0430 GMT around Immingham, near Grimsby, and then at 0700 GMT on the East Anglian coast.
In a brief Commons statement on Thursday afternoon, Mr Benn said: "A tidal surge of up to 3m [10ft] is making its way down the North Sea which could coincide with peak high tides.
"There is a risk of flood defences being over-topped on the coast and in tidal rivers, especially in East Anglia, particularly the Norfolk Broads and the coast south of Great Yarmouth including Lowestoft, and areas south of this as far as the coast of Kent."
BBC weather forecaster Carol Kirkwood said "particularly high tides" were exacerbating the situation.
There are eight severe flood warnings, 10 flood warnings and 24 flood watches nationally, covering North Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and the north Kent coast.
The severe warnings in place from Great Yarmouth down to Shingle Street, and on parts of the River Bure, River Yare and River Waveney, carry an Environment Agency alert stating: "Severe flooding is expected. There is extreme danger to life and property. Act now."
From the north Kent coast around to Sandwich and Deal, people were being asked to monitor the weather and tides.
The impact there was expected to be less severe - with predicted tides 1.5m (5ft) above average - but there is still a risk of localised flooding.
The Environment Agency, Met Office, emergency services and council planners will be constantly assessing the tidal and storm situation in all the affected areas.
Large parts of Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Kent were left under water in 1953, and 307 people died, when high tides and a storm saw a tidal surge of 3.2m (10ft 6in).
The Environment Agency said it was "much better prepared now", but the Met Office added that it was predicting the highest tide since 1983 in Felixstowe, Suffolk.
I'm glad I am in the North West.
Nov 9th, 2007, 05:46 AM
It's quite scary indeed.
But the dikes are holding the water here in The Netherlands :) otherwise i was probably dead :scared:
But in the UK the situation is more concern. Good luck you guys in the UK !!!!
Nov 9th, 2007, 05:51 AM
A storm in the North Sea has left Britain and the Netherlands facing the worst flood threat in decades with tidal surges predicted early on Friday.
Flood defences have been put on alert on the entire Dutch coast and flood warnings are in place for the eastern and northern coasts of Britain.
A tidal wave in 1953 killed more than 2,000 people in both countries.
Oil platforms have been closed off the Norwegian coast and gales are expected in Germany and Denmark.
The Dutch transport ministry said this was the first time since 1976 the whole North Sea coast was under alert.
Maritime traffic in Rotterdam was halted, as the authorities closed the giant Maeslant barrier that guards entrance to the largest port in Europe for the first time since its construction in the 1990s.
It took half-an-hour for the two doors of the barrier across the Nieuwe Waterweg to meet, spanning a channel 360 metres wide.
Rotterdam will remain closed until 1700GMT on Friday, a port spokesman said.
One-third of the land mass of the Netherlands is under sea level.
In Britain, the Thames River and Dartford Creek barriers are being shut as waters are forecast to surge 1.5 metres (5 feet) above normal sea levels.
Families along the Norfolk coast have been protecting their homes
UK government warned large areas of Norfolk and Kent coasts were at risk of severe flooding and the Met Office warned of gusts of up to 145km/h (90mph) for the Orkney and Shetland islands in Scotland.
The storm surge is expected to peak around dawn on Friday, and several hundred people have left their homes near Great Yarmouth in Norfolk.
Severe gale warnings were issued in Germany and Denmark, with wind gusts of up to 125km/h (80mph) expected.
In Germany, regions around the Elbe and Elm rivers were under flood warnings.
The North Sea storm affected oil industry in Norway, the fifth largest exporter of crude in the world, with the closure of oil platforms off its coast.
Nov 9th, 2007, 05:59 AM
How far up the Thames does the tide go? Interesting they have closed the Thames flood gate.
Nov 9th, 2007, 11:15 AM
Apparently this is the remnants of tropical storm Noel.
Nov 9th, 2007, 11:42 AM
Damn! I hope everyone's well and the damage and casualties are as minimal as possible. :sad: