Walcott residents evacuated from homes following ‘severe flood warning’
- Credit: MAURICE GRAY
A rest centre has been set up at The Lighthouse Pub and police are advising those affected to bring any medication with them.
An evacuation has begun in Walcott after a severe flood warning was issued for the area.
Around 80 properties under-threat from tonight's high tide are being advised to move. A rest centre has been set up at The Lighthouse Pub in the village.
Where possible, residents are being advised to make alternative arrangements to stay with family or friends who do not live in affected areas.
Community Flood Wardens, supported by officers from North Norfolk District Council, are going door to door to ensure no-one is left behind.
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Superintendent Dave Buckley, who is helping co-ordinate the multi-agency response, said: 'This is a significant policing operation underlined by the numbers of properties affected.
'We understand people will be anxious but this action is necessary on the back of the latest information from the Environment Agency, which suggests the threat is significant. We also have additional police resources in place to manage the response.'
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Earlier today, communities along the north Norfolk coast breathed a sigh of relief as the area escaped relatively unscathed from the anticipated high tide.
However, with flood warnings remaining in place for this evening, they are braced for worse to come.
Residents in flood-risk areas had been warned to prepare to be evacuated from their homes with police urging immediate action to move vehicles and belongings to higher ground.
Some businesses boarded up their properties for what is regarded as the unluckiest day of the year - Friday the 13th; flood barriers were put in place, and the emergency services put on standby.
In Blakeney, the high tide spilled over the quayside and onto the street but, with most boats securely moored the night before, there was little sign of any damage.
However, with strong winds influencing the tide, it is feared it could spell double trouble later.
Tony Faulkner, whose home overlooks the quayside, said: 'We are expecting more tonight, they (forecasters) are predicting more tonight. This morning's tide wasn't anything like as high as they predicted. Usually the Environment Agency are pretty good but this is well down on what they predicted.
'There is some relief but we will be watching today, it will depend a lot on whether the ebb tide goes out properly. If it doesn't go out then the new tide comes in pushing in behind it and then we'll get more.
'We normally do this once or twice a year but we've actually already done it twice now. We're all equipped with flood walls now and they are very effective.'
Peter and Susan McKnespiey, owners of Cookie's Crab Shop in Salthouse, suffered thousands of pounds worth of damage to their business during the last serious flooding to hit the area - the storm surge of December 2013.
However, despite expecting to bear the brunt of this morning's high tide, the sea failed to breach the neighbouring bank.
Mr McKnespiey said: 'We've seen it before. We've had four foot of water in here in 2013. I think everyone is a bit more cautious now.' But Mrs McKnespiey added: 'We don't know what tonight is going to bring.'
For the past 24 hours agencies in Norfolk, including emergency services and all local authorities, have been working with the Environment Agency to put well-rehearsed contingency plans in place to protect those communities affected.
Police say any households directly affected will be contacted in person, in due course, according to their local flood management plan.
The public should be on the alert for any further warnings from the Environment Agency. It is anticipated disruption is likely to last for 12 hours and local communities will be kept updated throughout. Locations currently identified as likely to be most affected are Great Yarmouth, Wells, Walcott, Salthouse and King's Lynn.
Superintendent Buckley added: 'I would also urge members of the public not to put themselves at risk by gathering near to the water's edge to watch the waves – while I accept they may be impressive you are putting yourself in dangers way. We would ask people to keep away from the seafront and flood water.'
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