Bascule bridge and Mutford Lock bridge in Lowestoft to be closed amid flooding fears

The Bascule bridge in Lowestoft. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

The Bascule bridge in Lowestoft. Picture: NICK BUTCHER - Credit: Nick Butcher

Both bridges across Lake Lothing in Lowestoft are to be closed amid fears of flooding in the town this evening (Friday, January 13).

Mutford Lock at Oulton Broad.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Mutford Lock at Oulton Broad. Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

The Environment Agency has now issued seven severe flood warnings for the Lowestoft and Southwold areas – which warn of a danger to life – that are forecast at about 9.45pm tonight.

And the Suffolk Resilience Forum has repeated their earlier messages – as residents and businesses in coastal areas of Suffolk are being urged to be prepared as severe flood warnings are issued for the east coast between now and Saturday morning.

The temporary flood barriers in place in Lowestoft. Picture: MARK BOGGIS

The temporary flood barriers in place in Lowestoft. Picture: MARK BOGGIS - Credit: Archant

Specific areas have been identified as being at high risk of flooding, which includes around 1,880 properties, and operations are under way for the evacuation of homes, businesses and other properties in those areas.

The Environment Agency has issued the following severe flood warnings, with potential severe flooding in the following areas:


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Lowestoft seafront and docks

North bank of Lake Lothing

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Oulton Broad near Mutford Lock

Southwold and surrounding marshes

On the south bank of Lake Lothing

At the Riverside Business Park in Kirkley

In and around the Blythburgh and Blythburgh marshes area.

Flood warnings are also in force at Benacre Marshes and Kessingland Beach, the Tidal River Wang including Wangford and at Walberswick, Dunwich and surrounding marshes.

Lowestoft train station will also be closing tonight (Friday) because of the flood evacuation. Train passengers heading to and from Lowestoft this evening will not be able to travel after about 8pm tonight because the rail station is closing due to danger of flooding from the tidal surge.

Suffolk Constabulary has asked Greater Anglia to evacuate the station. No trains will run to and from the station after the 20.07 service to Ipswich has departed. The station is unlikely to open again until after 11am on Saturday, depending on the extent of any flooding.

The last train services to Lowestoft tonight are the 17.00 from London (to connect with the 18.13 from Ipswich), the 18.13 from Ipswich and the 19.02 from Norwich. Last trains from Lowestoft are the 19.55 to Norwich and the 20.07 to Ipswich. Tickets for later trains will be accepted on any trains.

Passengers travelling from Norwich and Ipswich to stations before Lowestoft should check before they travel.

All passengers should check before they travel, on the Greater Anglia website, app or on Twitter @greateranglia.

Greater Anglia Customer Services Director, Andrew Goodrum, said: 'We apologise to passengers for any inconvenience, but we are taking this action for the safety of our passengers and staff.'

All of the agencies involved – including Suffolk Police, Suffolk Fire and Rescue, East of England Ambulance Service, the Environment Agency, Suffolk County Council, Waveney District Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council - have made plans and are working together to safeguard Suffolk residents and visitors to the county.

Supt Kerry Cutler, of Suffolk Constabulary said: 'We are taking this matter extremely seriously and would urge people in the areas likely to be affected to do the same. Rest centres have been established in the county and people in those areas are encouraged to find alternative accommodation outside of the affected areas or to make their way to the nearest rest centre well in advance of the high tide times. Leaflets have been distributed overnight.

'We expect the worst of the weather to be in the Lowestoft and Waveney area this evening and we continue to work with agencies both locally, regionally and nationally, with teams out on the ground talking to residents that are likely to be affected. We would continue to ask that you monitor local media and the Environment Agency website to ensure you keep up to date with any developments.

'We would urge anyone who may be currently considering going to the coast to watch the tidal surge, not to do this. This would be incredibly dangerous not only for those people but also as it may cause disruption and delay for emergency response teams and vehicles who are supporting local communities in these areas.'

Earlier this mornings severe flood warnings for Suffolk were downgraded, as the Environment Agency said the high tide at 10am in Lowestoft today was not expected to be as bad as feared.

But after a brief snow flurry from about 8.45am for 20 minutes this morning, and then for an hour before lunch, the east coast is now bracing itself for a storm surge.

Environment Agency severe flood warnings

Lowestoft Seafront and Docks

Severe flood warning in force now

We are currently experiencing high tide levels due to a combination of spring tides and a tidal surge. The gale force winds will cause large waves and sea spray resulting in potential damage to flood defences and flooding of property. Hazardous conditions are likely and you are advised to take care near coastal defences and avoid coastal paths and promenades. The forecast high water is due at Lowestoft at 9.45pm on Friday, January 13. The predicted astronomical tide level is 1.15 m AODN. The forecast surge height is 1.81m. The forecast tide level is 2.96m AODN. The forecast wind direction is North North West. The forecast wind strength is Force 8. Areas at risk include Lowestoft Denes caravan park, industrial estate and docks area. This warning is in force until midnight tonight.

North Bank of Lake Lothing

Severe flood warning in force now

We are currently experiencing high tide levels due to a combination of spring tides and a tidal surge. The gale force winds will cause large waves and sea spray resulting in potential damage to flood defences and flooding of property. Hazardous conditions are likely and you are advised to take care near coastal defences and avoid coastal paths and promenades. The forecast high water is due at Lowestoft at 9.45pm on Friday, January 13. Properties are at risk in Denmark Road and Commercial Road in Lowestoft, including the railway station and the railway line. This warning is in force until midnight on Friday, November 13.

Oulton Broad near Mutford Lock

Severe flood warning in force now

We are currently experiencing high tide levels due to a combination of spring tides and a tidal surge. The gale force winds will cause large waves and sea spray resulting in potential damage to flood defences and flooding of property. Hazardous conditions are likely and you are advised to take care near coastal defences and avoid coastal paths and promenades. The forecast high water is due at Lowestoft at 9.45pm on Friday, January 13. The predicted astronomical tide level is 1.15 m AODN. The forecast surge height is 1.81 m. The forecast tide level is 2.96 m AODN. The forecast wind direction is North North Westerly. The forecast wind strength is Force 8. This warning is in force until midnight tonight.

Southwold and surrounding marshes

Severe flood warning in force now

We are currently experiencing high tide levels due to a combination of spring tides and a tidal surge. The gale force winds will cause large waves and sea spray resulting in potential damage to flood defences and flooding of property. Hazardous conditions are likely and you are advised to take care near coastal defences and avoid coastal paths and promenades. The forecast high water is due at Lowestoft at 9.45pm on Friday, January 13, and at Southwold around one hour later. The forecast tide level is 2.96 mAODn with a surge of 1.81 m. The forecast wind direction is North North West, Force 8. Properties are at risk around the Southwold Harbour area, Ferry road, the bottoms of Queens Road and Constitution Hill, North Road, the bottom of Pier Avenue and Mights Road in Southwold. Bridge Road and Hillside Road in Reydon. This warning is in force until 1am on Saturday.

On the south bank of Lake Lothing to Mutford Lock

Severe flood warning in force now

We are currently experiencing high tide levels due to a combination of spring tides and a tidal surge. The gale force winds will cause large waves and sea spray resulting in potential damage to flood defences and flooding of property. Hazardous conditions are likely and you are advised to take care near coastal defences and avoid coastal paths and promenades. This has been issued in consultation with out partners to ensure safety. The forecast high water is due at Lowestoft at 9.45pm on January 13. The predicted astronomical tide level is 1.15 m AODN. The forecast surge height is 1.81 m. The forecast tide level is 2.96 m AODN. The forecast wind direction is North North West. The forecast wind strength is force 8. Properties are at risk in Brooke Business and Industrial park in Lowestoft. This warning is in force until 11.45pm on January 13.

Riverside Business Park and Kirkley

Severe flood warning in force now

We are currently experiencing high tide levels on the Norfolk Suffolk and Essex coasts, this is due to a combination of spring tides and a tidal surge. In addition there are gale force winds expected which may cause large waves and sea spray. Due to the weather forecast and large waves this severe has been issued in consultation with our partners to ensure safety. This forecast high water is due at Lowestoft at 9.45pm on January 13. The predicted astronomical tide level is 1.15 m AODN. The forecast surge height is 1.81 m. The forecast tide level is 2.96 m AODN. The forecast wind direction is North North West. The forecast wind strength is force 8. This warning is in force until 11.45pm on January 13.

Blythburgh and marshes upstream of A12

Severe flood warning in force now

We are currently experiencing high tide levels due to a combination of spring tides and a tidal surge. The gale force winds will cause large waves and sea spray resulting in potential damage to flood defences and flooding property. Hazardous conditions are likely and you are advised to take care near coastal defences and avoid coastal paths and promenades. Due to the weather forecast and large waves, this severe warning has been issue in consultation with our partners to ensure safety. The forecast high water is due at Lowestoft at 9.45pm on January 13. The predicted astronomical tide level is 1.15 m AODN. The forecast surge height is 1.81 m. The forecast tide level is 2.96 m AODN. The forecast wind direction is North North Westerly. The forecast wind strength is force 8. Flooding is expected for the A12 at Blythburgh. This warning is in force until 11.45pm today.

Evacuation aid

Suffolk Constabulary said specific areas of the coast had been identified as being at high risk of flooding, taking in around 1,880 properties which are likely to be evacuated.

With residents being urged to evacuate from their homes, and rest centres opening from 2pm at WaterLane Leisure Centre in Lowestoft and Carlton Colville Community Centre in Hall Road, there will be coach pick up points available from 2pm today at the following locations for those residents with no transport available:

Lowestoft North – Lowestoft Railway station – to take people to WaterLane rest centre

Lowestoft South – South Beach Pavilion – to take people to Carlton Colville rest centre

Oulton – Nicholas Everitt Park – to take people to Carlton Colville rest centre

Southwold – Car Park by Southwold Pier shuttle bus – to take people to Carlton Colville rest centre

If you need help with transport to a rest centres or if you have any other questions relating to these flood warnings, you can call Suffolk County Council's helpline on 03456 032814, which is open now.

Police officers are visiting homes in affected areas, to provide details of local rest centres and an information leaflet.

Following alerts from the Environment Agency, Waveney Norse operatives worked alongside the Water Management Alliance to mobilise and deploy new temporary flood barriers for the first time.

Barriers have been placed on the south side of Lake Lothing and in the areas of Kirkley Ham and Belvedere Road. Further barriers have also been installed along Commercial Road East and Commercial Road West, to complete the entire temporary flood barrier network.

Waveney Norse has also put sandbags out at the yacht stations in Oulton Broad, Beccles and Southwold. Due to predicted high winds, they are also using sandbags around the flood barrier panels to prevent unwanted movement, gaps and potential breaches in water resistance.

The following advice is offered for those people preparing for evacuation:

Stay calm and do not panic.

Police officers and / or other officials will try to visit all properties at risk to advise on the requirement to evacuate.

If road conditions permit, move vehicles to unaffected areas; for example higher ground, and ask friends / family if you can share their parking facilities.

You will be given details about your evacuation point for transport and the location of the reception centre either verbally or by a leaflet.

Try to check that any elderly / vulnerable family members or neighbours know about the evacuation.

Try to inform family members / friends as to where you are evacuating.

Listen to the advice of the authorities and follow any instructions to leave the property.

Take special foods and medicines with you.

Switch off gas and electricity.

If possible, move electrical equipment and furniture upstairs.

Any furniture that you cannot move upstairs, try to raise well off the floor.

Lock all doors and windows.

Block doorways and air bricks – sandbags are not available via local authorities

Avoid walking and driving through floodwater, there could be hidden hazards.

Residents in the areas likely to be affected are advised to review advice from the Environment Agency on preparing your property for flooding:http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/31644.aspx and take all necessary steps. People can also find out more information by calling the Environment Agency's Floodline on 0845 988 1188.

For updates follow Suffolk Police Twitter @SuffolkPolice

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