Emergency services out in force and many spend night in shelters, but storm surge causes less damage than was feared

Thousands of people along Englands east coast have been evacuated from their homes as life-threatening floods were expected to hit towns and villages at Friday nights high tide.

But while many have been forced to spend the night in shelters, there was relief as the tide came and went without the storm surge causing as much damage to communities as had been feared.

There was some flooding along the Yorkshire coast and people in Essex were still crossing their fingers late into Friday night, with the worst set to hit in the early hours of this morning.

Norfolk fire and rescue service said it attended a few incidents to assist with flooding but the area, which was expected to be the worst hit, seemed to have been largely spared.

The river did get pretty high but I didnt think it would ever go over the walls. I guess there was a lot of panicking but you cant be too careful, said 52-year-old Charles Osborne from Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

Late on Friday, Norfolk police said a man had been arrested for public order offences after jumping into the river in Great Yarmouth amid the flood warnings. Despite numerous warnings from police and our partner agencies to stay away from the water, a small number of people do not seem to be taking this message seriously, Supt Dave Buckley said.

Police, the fire service and the army were called out to protect residents along the east coast. Flooding had been expected around midday on Friday but high tide passed without incident.

In the evening, the Environment Agency (EA) had 17 severe warnings in effect. An evacuation also took place in Jaywick, near Clacton-on-Sea, Essex. A severe flood warning remained in place for the village for the high tide expected shortly after midnight.

A full evacuation plan was triggered at about 11am on Friday, and by the evening, scores had sought safety in emergency refuges in Essex. By early evening more than 170 people had registered many with their pets at emergency rest centres in Clacton and West Mersea.

Earlier, Essex police insisted they were not crying wolf as they urged residents to evacuate homes immediately. Some residents facing evacuation have expressed concerns about looting, but police said there would be increased patrols around empty properties.

Some in Jaywick decided to stay put. Tracey Edwards, 51, said the police told her to try to get some sleep in the early evening so she could be alert between midnight and 2am, when the tidal surge was expected to peak.

She said she would remain at home because of her snakes and bearded dragons, which could not be moved to the rest centre. It is mostly the elderly that have gone, a few people have had family come and pick them up but most people are staying in, she added.

Mother-of-two Danielle Hammond, 21, said she was staying at home for now but had moved her belongings upstairs. I did it all three years ago and came home to a couple of puddles on the ground, she added.

North Yorkshires coastal residents were also warned to be prepared for large tidal surges yesterday afternoon. The local fire and rescue service said crews were dealing with flooding in Sandsend, an area where high tides had been expected to cause problems. A spokesman said the service had set up command hubs in strategic locations. Some flooding was also seen in Whitby.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jan/14/storms-and-floods-force-evacuation-of-thousands-on-east-coast

Storms and floods force evacuation of thousands on east coast
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