Emergency services to discuss potential storm surge which could hit Norfolk this week

Chief Fire Officer Roy Harold. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Chief Fire Officer Roy Harold. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

Senior officers from the emergency services are to meet today to discuss ways to deal with a possible tidal surge which could hit the region's coast later this week.

Experts are currently monitoring a developing weather pattern, which they have said could create conditions for a storm surge similar to the one which struck in December 2013.

No official warning has yet been issued, but planning for such an eventuality is to be discussed at a 'multi agency' meeting taking place today.

Those attending – including representatives from the 999 services – had been due to take part in a scheduled 'support group' exercise on how to deal with mass power cuts.

Roy Harold, Norfolk's chief fire officer, said: 'Since we are all in the same venue, it will be a good opportunity to look at the weather forecasts and come up with some plans, so we are ready if needed.'

He added: 'The main public message is that if we get a tidal surge like we had in December 2013 – which we could – then don't go out and see the show.

'In 2013 we gave lots of evacuation messages but quite a few people decided to stay and watch, and the surge was almost a tourist attraction in places like Great Yarmouth.'

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The Environment Agency issued precautionary messages to 999 teams on Friday, amid concern over a developing low-pressure system, which could cause damaging storm surges in the east/south-east region, between Tuesday and Thursday.

Alison Hamilton, senior flood warden for Bacton, said: 'I am monitoring the tide tables to see how high they are and we have been out watching the waves and keeping an eye out. It hasn't got to an alert stage yet but it depends on the wind direction and whether it's high or low pressure.'

Jerry Woodley, coastguard station officer for Sheringham, said: 'If the sea is being really rough we advise those to be careful on the promenade and to use common sense. We know that a lot of people like to watch the storm, but be aware that you could be swept off your feet.'

In December 2013, hundreds of houses and businesses were flooded, in East Anglia's biggest storm surge in 60 years.