Risk of flooding along Norfolk coast and severe weather warnings issued across the east as winds of up to 80mph set to batter region

Stormy weather at Walcott earlier this year. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Stormy weather at Walcott earlier this year. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Severe weather warnings have been issued across Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire as strong winds are expected to hit the region tomorrow - bringing a risk of flooding to coastal areas.

The Met Office has issued an amber warning for wind across Norfolk - urging people to be prepared - and yellow warnings for Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, alerting people to be aware.

And the Environment Agency (EA) is preparing to issue flood warnings, some at its highest level of severe, for tides expected around the east coast tomorrow night and on Friday.

It said this afternoon that the Hunstanton and Heacham areas, Wells Quay and Salthouse are especially at risk from high waters, as a combination of strong winds and high tides threaten severe flooding.

High waters are expected along the east coast between 7.30pm tomorrow at South Ferriby, Lincolnshire, and 2.15am Friday at Southend, Essex, and again between 7.45am Friday at South Ferriby and 2.45pm Friday at Southend.

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Agency staff are out this afternoon double checking flood defences and the EA will be warning homes at risk of flooding from south of the Humber to north of the Thames to be prepared to take action.

Sue Longstone, EA regional director said: 'We are concerned the predicted wind and tides could lead to flooding especially along the Norfolk and Essex coasts.

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'Once the situation is more definite we will be issuing flood warnings if appropriate, but now is the time for people to check they are prepared in case of flooding and to keep a close eye on their local situation.'

Emergency planners from the police, councils, EA and fire service are currently meeting and will be issuing updates.

Phil Garner, forecaster at Norwich-based Weatherquest, said tomorrow's predicted gusts were being stirred up by a 'deep area' of low pressure.

'The strongest winds (will come) just after midday and will last until about 5pm,' he added. 'It's really going to be blustery, we're probably looking at gusts of 40 - 45mph inland and 55mph on the coast.

'At the same time we will see a cold front coming through. I don't think it's going to bring any snow, maybe just a little bit of sleet and maybe an isolated sleety hail shower for Thursday night, along the north east tip of the coast.'

Met Office forecasters have said gusts could reach up to 80mph in areas covered by an amber warning and winds could hit 90mph in exposed areas of north and west Scotland.

Drivers are also being urged to take care during the predicted wild weather and a train operator has warned passengers to allow extra time for their journeys tomorrow.

East Coast will run a revised timetable throughout Thursday as large parts of the route are expected to be affected by heavy wind and rain, and travellers are being urged to check the latest information before setting out.

The AA meanwhile, is warning motorists to take special care on the roads, particularly along open stretches, over bridges or gaps in hedges, exposed coastal roads or when passing high-sided vehicles.

? For the latest flood warnings call 0845 988 1188 or visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk which also details help and advice on how to prepare for flooding.

? To keep up to date with train timetables and changes call National Rail Enquiries on 08457 484950.

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