Coastal communities watch for flooding

Coastal communities around East Anglia are hoping to avoid serious flooding problems despite the twin threat of high tides and strong winds. Areas such as Wells and Blakeney have seen sea water washing on to quaysides and car parks over the past few days due to the spring equinox tides and northerly winds.

Coastal communities around East Anglia are hoping to avoid serious flooding problems despite the twin threat of high tides and strong winds.

Areas such as Wells and Blakeney have seen sea water washing on to quaysides and car parks over the past few days due to the spring equinox tides and northerly winds.

Lifeboats and flood wardens were also on standby at Bacton on Sunday due to fears about water encroaching into homes and businesses, but no serious problems were reported.

Environment Agency officers have issued a flood warning along the coast between Winterton and Sheringham and its website is up-dated every 15 minutes.

There is also a less serious flood watch issued on eight areas in the Anglia region, including along the coast between Hunstanton and Weybourne.

More higher than average high tides are due on Tuesday and EA spokesman Catherine Burbidge said: “We are keeping a close watch on the tide situation, particularly in view of the northerly wind and low pressure.”

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At Happisburgh, updated coastal erosion measures appeared to be doing their job in preventing further erosion of the cliffs.

North Norfolk District Council coastal engineer Brian Farrow said the high tides had come at an unfortunate time but it was something they had to live with.

He said that the combination of the high tides with a northerly wind acts as a friction on the sea and pushes it down the North Sea funnel.

But he said that the wind hadn't been acting long enough for it to be significant problem.

The situation also brings into focus the importance of the flood warning sirens along the Norfolk coast where flood warden volunteers are battling to prevent them from being withdrawn from service this summer. A group of emergency planners say that the sirens are out-dated and need replacing with more up-to-date messaging warning systems.

The flood warden volunteers along the coast have challenged this decision and are currently fighting to keep the sirens in use in the event of coastal flooding. They are particularly angry over what they claim is a complete lack of public consultation over the issue.

t The Environment Agency Floodline 24-hour emergency number is 0845 9881188 and the flood monitoring website is at www.environment-agency.gov.uk.