March 13 2014 Latest news:
Lauren Rogers and Sam Russell
Friday, December 6, 2013
Two fire service boats were on stand-by in Great Yarmouth as the second surge tide arrived, but defences appear to have held.
Both Haven and Breydon Bridge are currently open and buses are running, and defences appear not to have been breached.
Two fire service boats - one from Nottinghamshire and one from Surrey - were by the bridge at around 10.50am.
But the brigade had to pump water away from homes in Riverside, near to the Suspension Bridge Tavern, where the road had flooded.
Around 200 people were at Caister High School rest centre last night, and more than 70 were still there at 10am today.
Many were vulnerable people, and Red Cross workers were on hand to offer support.
Chris Weight, assistant deputy head teacher, said people who could were going home to check on their property.
And he said if they got the all clear from the emergency services after the next surge tide, the centre would be wound down.
Laura Simnett, 20, spent the night at the rest centre with son Jaydn, aged six months.
Police had knocked on their door in Harley Road, Great Yarmouth, and advised them to leave.
“Jaydn slept fine but it was a very long night, “ she said. “There was a lot of noise and we were worrying about what was going on at home.”
But she said volunteers had been kind to them, and they would return home if their home escaped damage in the second surge tide.”
The tide was not as high as last night’s, but coupled with already full rivers and the Broads network could still cause flooding in north and south Yarmouth, Cobholm and Southtown.
A spokesman for Great Yarmouth Borough Council said: “A number of locations experienced minor flooding, which has mostly been surface flooding on roads.”
Areas affected by surface flooding were the seafront car parks in Great Yarmouth, North Quay, Gorleston’s Riverside Road, Southtown and South Yarmouth.
“Some homes in the borough have been flooded.
“It is thought at this stage to be a limited number, but agencies are still assessing the impact.
“In addition, a number of properties have been affected at the Marrams in Hemsby.”
The severe flood warnings have now been downgraded to flood alerts for the Rivers Yare, Bure and Waveney.
There is still plenty of space at the rest centres across the borough.
None of the seven rest centres have been full since they opened yesterday at 2pm. Despite initial reports last night, all centres have retained some capacity.
The centres are: Flegg High, Martham Primary, Caister High, Cliff Park High, Orimiston Venture Academy, Lynn Grove High, and Hemsby Village Hall.
The centres have a total capacity of about 1,500. The peak number of evacuees at the centres was 460 at about 10.30pm last night. Many residents chose to stay put and move upstairs, or to relocate temporarily to friends and family outside of the at-risk area
Speaking from Caister High School rest centre this morning, David Ashworth, area manager for Norfolk Fire and Rescue, said: “Things seems to have calmed down along the coast although there has been some damage to properties, such as the old lifeboat shed and homes in Hemsby.
“I don’t think it has been as bad as predicted, but there certainly have been houses affected.
“We haven’t had any reports of injuries, but obviously more information will come to light throughout the morning.
“The next high tide due in Yarmouth at 10.45am.
“There will be strategic coordinating group who will be given a briefing from the Environment Agency and that will inform the local technical coordinators about what we do next.”
Jan Davis, emergency planning manager for Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said they were piecing together a picture of the damage caused by the high tide coupled with a tidal surge.
There have been reports of sewage inside a property in Runham Vauxhall in Yarmouth, but it is believed the majority of homes in Southtown and Cobholm escaped the flood waters.
In Hemsby, there are heartbreaking scenes where five bungalows on the Marrams have been torn down by the sea overnight.
Save Hemsby’s Coastline, a commuynity group campaigning to raise cash for sea defences, had to call time on their fundraising event at the Lacon Arms pub when it became clear the bungalows were about to be lost.
“My husband had been going out to check on the houses after the lifeboat shed went at about 9pm,” said Lorna Bevan-Thompson, landlord of the Lacon Arms.
“He came in and said it’s getting bad, I think we need to tell the couple who live there.
“They were at the pub so I picked my way through the people and explained that we thought the house was about to go.”
“I called the pub and said we needed to get as much stuff out of the house as quickly as we could,” said Jonathan Thompson.
“We had a chain of people, getting what we could. I could hear the building cracking and as soon as I saw the door frame going I said we had to get out.
“We got out and the whole back of the house just went.
“It was heartbreaking.”