Waveney District Council leader Colin Law has said the authority is “gearing up for a critical situation” following the news that up to 1,000 homes and businesses could be evacuated today (Thursday).

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Severe flood warnings have been issued for large areas of East Anglia as high tides and strong winds threaten to swamp the coastline.

The Environment Agency has issued 25 alerts for the region, warning of severe flooding and danger to life, while around 1,000 homes and businesses in north Suffolk are preparing for evacuation today.

People in areas including Southwold, Blythburgh, the Riverside Business park in Lowestoft and along the Bure and Yare rivers in Great Yarmouth are likely to be affected.

Mr Law issued the following statement in response to the developing weather situation, which is feared to be the worst storm to strike the region in 30 years.

He said: “We are gearing up for a critical situation and, having regularly practiced emergency plan scenarios, we are taking absolutely nothing for granted.

“Our operational teams are working closely with our colleagues at the County Council, Environment Agency and the emergency services to prioritise the safety of our communities and to support them wherever it is needed.”

With the gale-force winds currently battering the east coast, a scheduled council meeting this evening has been cancelled and this lunchtime, two further events have been cancelled.

Late night shopping entertainment in Lowestoft town centre has been “cancelled for safety reasons.” Emma King, BID Manager from Lowestoft Vision, said: “Tonight’s late night shopping entertainment in the town has been cancelled for safety reasons due to the severe weather warnings in place, we are hoping to make next Thursday extra special to compensate.”

And Suffolk Chamber of Commerce has postponed this evening’s scheduled Lowestoft and Waveney Chamber of Commerce Business Awards gala evening at Potters in Hopton until a later date.

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