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Firefighters from across Shropshire have been in Norfolk to help deal with the worst tidal surge to hit the east coast of England in more than 60 years.

Pumps, boats and a team of highly trained personnel, including a flood management expert and a welfare officer, left the county on Thursday evening after Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service requested help from across the country. They were sent to Gorleston Fire Station, up the coast from Great Yarmouth. There they met officers from Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Surrey, Berkshire, Staffordshire, Hertfordshire and Norfolk fire services where a massive emergency plan was formulated.

Group manager Shaun Baker, who is based at Shrewsbury Fire Station, was appointed one of four senior officers helping to co-ordinate the Norfolk operation.

Speaking on his return to Shropshire last night, Mr Baker said: The predictions from the Environment Agency and local emergency services was that there was going to be the worst tidal surge in 60 years. We went down at 4pm on Thursday and were held initially at a holding area.

We were then sent on to a fire station in Great Yarmouth and took with us boats and large volume pumping assets. Amongst us was both retained fire fighters and full-time firefighters.

Without the support of our employers, Shropshire would not have been able to offer the level of support they did.

The retained firefighters were able to drop everything and travel at a moment s notice. I helped with the planning of the possible evacuation of 9,000 people from the Great Yarmouth area. Fortunately we did not need to evacuate these people but we did have to carry out checks on flood defences in the area to check that they hadn t been breached and were holding firm.

Our main worry was the high tide, which was due at 11pm on Thursday and 11am yesterday morning.

However, the boat was not needed. Mr Baker described how a change in the weather provided a turn of fortune for the thousands of households in Great Yarmouth.

Mother Nature really helped us out. The water only needed about another inch before it would have been over the defences.

We were very, very fortunate.

Thousands of people who were evacuated from their homes will be assessing the damage after finally being allowed to return to their homes yesterday. The Environment Agency (EA) said 1,400 homes were flooded, including 300 in Boston, Lincolnshire, one of the worst affected areas. Improving weather last night saw flood waters recede in many areas, and the EA has removed more than 200 flood warnings, 106 in the Anglian area alone.

Emergency services downgraded risk levels, and the majority of people evacuated from their homes have left rest centres.

Devastated residents in Hemsby, Norfolk, watched their cliff-top homes disappear into the sea as the tidal surge hit on Thursday night. A lifeboat station was also reportedly washed into the sea.

Hundreds of people were evacuated in Boston, Lincolnshire and Clacton-on-Sea in Essex.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said two women, two babies in pushchairs and a dog were rescued after being hit by a large wave at Louisa Bay in Broadstairs, Kent.

The two people who died on Thursday were lorry driver Robert Dellow, 54, from Lowestoft in Suffolk, whose vehicle overturned in West Lothian, Scotland, and an 83-year-old man who was hit by a falling tree in Retford, Nottinghamshire.

See more here:
Shropshire firefighters help tackle flood chaos Shropshire Star

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Taken from:
BforB Norwich Christmas Festivities, The Maids Head, Norwich

Thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes and two people have been killed as the worst tidal surge in 60 years sweeps down the British coast.

Emergency services have launched rescue operations as the severe weather, bringing hurricane-force winds and flooding, moves south from Scotland, which was hit by gusts of up to 142mph.

One man was killed when he was struck by a falling tree in a park in Retford, Nottinghamshire, and a lorry driver died when the HGV he was driving was blown on top of two cars on the A801 near Bathgate, West Lothian.

Four others were injured in the accident.

A man stands in water washed onto the promenade of the north bay in Scarborough, northern England
The seafront in Scarborough

Parts of Newcastle city centre flooded after the River Tyne burst its banks.

Thousands of homes in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Kent are being evacuated as people across the east coast prepare for the surges that officials say could put lives at risk.

Environment Agency
An Environment Agency map showing the worst-affected areas

:: Watch live coverage on Sky News HD as the tidal surge is expected to peak in Wells-next-the-Sea from 8pm, in Great Yarmouth at 10.30pm and in Felixstowe at 1am on Friday.

:: Send your images or video to email protected9 or upload images at

Prime Minister David Cameron has called two emergency meetings to discuss strategy.

Across England and Wales, the Environment Agency (EA) has issued more than 50 severe flood warnings, which are only issued when flooding poses a significant threat to life .

The severe warnings the highest category are in place for coastal areas in East Anglia, the Midlands and Kent.

The agency said communities along the North Sea coast from Northumberland to the Thames Estuary and Kent, in addition to those on the Irish Sea coast from Cumbria down to Cheshire, could see significant coastal flooding tonight and into Friday.


The EA said in some areas sea levels could be higher than those during the devastating floods of 1953 which battered the east coast of England and claimed the lives of hundreds of people.

Defences built since then including the Thames and Hull barriers mean that many parts of the country are much better protected, he said.

The tide comes over the sea wall in Blackpool

However, some coastal flood defences could be overtopped by the combined effect of high tides, high winds and a large tidal surge, he said.

The Met Office said there had been severe gales of between 60mph and 80mph across Scotland and northern parts of England, and some mountainous regions in Aberdeenshire and Inverness-shire reported speeds of around 140mph.

In Norfolk, 9,000 homes are being evacuated as local officials attempt to stem the damage from the coastal surge.

The Ministry of Defence has also confirmed a small number of soldiers is helping the flood defence effort in Norfolk.

Autumn weather Dec 5th
Maryport in Cumbria

A further 1,000 properties are to be evacuated in affected areas in Suffolk and some residents in Jaywick, near Clacton-on-Sea in Essex, are also being urged to leave their homes.

Local officials are setting up emergency accommodation facilities and handing out sandbags to help people protect their homes, police said.

Police in Humberside have also declared an emergency situation as they prepared for coastal surges from this evening.

A man stands in water washed onto the promenade of the north bay in Scarborough, northern England
The River Tyne has burst its banks in Newcastle

In Newcastle, the pavement around the base of the Tyne Bridge, the Millennium Bridge and the city s Crown Court were left completely under water.

Northumbria Police warned people to take extra care in the adverse weather conditions.

A police spokesman said the places worst affected were Northumberland, North Tyneside and the Newcastle Quayside.

Parts of Newcastle city centre flooded after the River Tyne burst its banks.

:: Read more at Sky Tyne And Wear211

Residents in Rhyl, North Wales, have been ferried to safety from flooded homes by lifeboats as the storm battered the coast and flooded dozens of homes.

A school in the town also had to be evacuated because of fast-flowing water.

This evening, North Wales Police said the immediate risks caused by the high winds and tides had abated.

The RNLI rescues people from the floods in Rhyl
Lifeboats ferried people to safety in Rhyl

But Sky s Nick Martin, in Rhyl, said there was still much concern in the town about high tide, which is due around midnight.

There is a great deal of anxiety that they might see a repeat of what happened earlier as that surge broke through the sea defences and flooded about 70 homes, he said.

Many of the residents in Rhyl who have been affected are vulnerable and elderly.

Meanwhile, in north Norfolk, Allan Urquhart, who lives on the seafront at Blakeney, brought a rowing boat to the King s Arm pub to collect a friend.

I m going to row back to the house and we ll stay upstairs tonight, he said.

We ve put sandbags in place so hopefully we ll be ok, I m as confident as I can be.

Residents fill sand bags before an expected storm surge in Great Yarmouth, eastern England
Residents fill sandbags in Great Yarmouth

This is the worst flooding I ve seen so it could be a difficult night for lots of people.

Sky s David Crabtree, in Blakeney, said: Quite a number of buildings in this very small community have been flooded.

It s very hard to tell exactly how many as it s impossible to get access to much of the village.

UK Hit By High Winds
A tree crushes a car in Glasgow

Tidal floods were also expected in Germany and Scandinavia, together with freezing high winds from Greenland.

Across the UK, tens of thousands of properties have been hit by power cuts as winds battered powerlines.

The adverse weather has also caused chaos to the transport network.

This morning rail services for Scotland and parts of the north of England were suspended.

Trains were halted at their nearest stations and passengers told to disembark after Network Rail said debris on lines and damage to equipment meant it was not safe to operate any services.

A driver had a lucky escape in Birmingham

National Rail said train services in Scotland and northern England are starting to run again as routes are cleared of debris.

A spokesman said that the network is also taking steps to prepare for the storm surge expected to hit the East of England tonight.

A number of flights have also been disrupted by the bad weather.

And closures, fallen trees, minor accidents and incidents of flash flooding are affecting the road network in many parts of the UK.

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sia Archives – Norfolk Security

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