Emergency services make preparations as coastal communities watch the weather

BACK THEN: In December 2013, flood water breaches the pier forecourt at Cromer. Photo: Duncan Abel.

BACK THEN: In December 2013, flood water breaches the pier forecourt at Cromer. Photo: Duncan Abel. - Credit: Archant

Communities along sections of the east coast are bracing themselves for possible flooding, as emergency services and local authorities continue to monitor weather conditions.

BACK THEN: The predicted high tides hit Great Yarmouth in December 2013. After coming over the beach

BACK THEN: The predicted high tides hit Great Yarmouth in December 2013. After coming over the beach wall the tide started to flood the Jetty car park and a business where the owners did their best to save stock. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Click here to view the high tides - Suggested tide times and heights graphic

The Environment Agency (EA) said the combination of a low pressure system, high spring tides and strong northerly winds could lead to a possible storm surge between tomorrow evening and Thursday morning – with the north Norfolk coast potentially affected.

Norfolk's chief fire officer Roy Harold said: 'Based on current forecasts we are expecting a medium likelihood of localised flooding with water coming in over the sea defences.

'The Met Office is currently forecasting a low-pressure system that will move into the North Sea. And with the high spring tides and northerly winds, areas around Wells and Walcott could especially be affected by this.

The waves near to Tides Reach in Lowestoft during the tidal surge of December 5, 2013

The waves near to Tides Reach in Lowestoft during the tidal surge of December 5, 2013 - Credit: Archant

'We are currently looking at potential flood alerts between Old Hunstanton and Sea Palling and a flood warning in Walcott.'

Fears about flooding were first publically raised over the weekend, with warnings that problems could be experienced between today and Thursday. This has now been revised, with a window between tomorrow evening and Thursday morning providing the most concern.

Yesterday, a multi-agency support group meeting was held, with representatives from the emergency services, local authorities and others assessing the latest forecasts and discussing plans.

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Mr Harold added that other emergency services across the country had been put on alert to come and help in this region there are serious problems with flooding.

'Over the weekend we gave a preliminary warning to emergency services across the country about the possibility of flooding.

'This is so that if anything major does come from this, then we can bring in extra resources rather than take attention away from other incidents going on away from the coast.

An EA spokesman said: 'The Met Office is forecasting that a low pressure system will move south-east into the North Sea during Wednesday and Thursday. As this low pressure system coincides with a period of high spring tides, this may lead to spray and large waves coming over promenades.

'The weather system brings a risk of localised coastal flooding for communities along parts of the east and south-east coasts of England on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning.'

The EA spokesman said teams were out 'checking flood defences, assessing weather conditions and monitoring sea levels' yesterday, and added: 'We will issue flood warnings to affected communities if required. We urge people to take care near coastal paths and promenades, and not to drive through flood water.'

Adam Dury, a forecaster at Norwich-based Weatherquest, said: 'On Tuesday we do have some quite gusty winds. These north-westerly winds could bring some high swells to the north Norfolk coast which could push up the tide. The stronger winds on Wednesday continue into Thursday, with the full moon (on Wednesday night) pulling the high tides up.'

A spokesman for Great Yarmouth Borough Council said: 'There will be high spring tide levels, strong north-westerly winds and potentially large waves on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning.'

Jane Burch, flood and coastal policy manager at Suffolk County Council, said: 'Nobody is getting too worried but we are keeping a watching brief. Some very isolated areas on the Suffolk coast – like Southwold Harbour – might get some flooding.'

Wells flood team co-ordinator, Mike Strong, said: 'We've been told they're keeping a close eye on the winds, there's a very low pressure system further up north.'

Visit www.gov.uk/check-if-youre-at-risk-of-flooding or follow @EnvAgency and #floodaware on Twitter for the latest flood updates.