Life after the flood drama

Life was returning to normal along much of the East Anglian coastline this afternoon after fears over widespread flooding diminished.The Environment Agency had given the all clear to much of the coast by lunchtime - though problems remained inland, particularly on the river Yare.

Life was returning to normal along much of the East Anglian coastline this afternoon after fears over widespread flooding diminished.

The Environment Agency had given the all clear to much of the coast by lunchtime - though problems remained inland, particularly on the river Yare.

Thousands of people who had been evacuated from their homes in Yarmouth in the early hours of this morning were later allowed to return, as the storm surge stopped short of historic levels predicted from a combination of gale-force winds and a high tide.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “The main tidal peak in the area that was most at risk in the Anglian region has occurred.

“The risk of flooding has diminished and the outlook is for tide levels to fall.

“No further flooding is expected after this morning's high tide.”

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One of the worst hit areas was Walcott where most of the village was evacuated this morning.

The road between Bacton and Walcott flooded with a caravan and a boat where cars would usually drive.

There was about 3ft deep of water from the sea up to the village hall.

Caroline Blower, landlady of the Poacher's Pocket, said she had woken up to find waves crashing over her picnic tables and the car park flooded.

A Norfolk police spokeswoman said: “We still have plans in place should the situation deteriorate. The peak has passed without major incident, although there was localised flooding.”

In neighbouring Suffolk, warnings remained in place and police continued to urge residents in Lowestoft and Beccles to leave their homes if they felt at risk.

People living in Broads areas of East Anglia, which do not drain between tides, were facing further flood risks over the next two tidal cycles - at least 24 hours - the Environment Agency warned.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown earlier chaired a meeting of the government's emergency Cobra committee - the second in 12 hours.

He promised national help to communities affected and said: “It's too early to assess the damage that has been done.”

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