Communities along Norfolk and Waveney coast assess the damage after storm surge
PUBLISHED: 10:39 14 January 2017 | UPDATED: 15:08 20 January 2017
Dave Hubba Roberts
Flood defences along the Norfolk and Waveney coast may have kept one of the biggest tidal surges in years at bay last night but communities along the east coast woke up to damage and disruption this morning.
In Cromer the tide gauge site recorded its highest ever water level since opening in 1984, with a storm surge of 1.5m above the high tide.
This led to beach huts being destroyed at West Beach in the town and North Norfolk District Council has decided to keep Cromer Pier shut today so safety checks can be carried out following last nights severe weather.
Rocks and what appears to be the remains of a bench litter the neighbouring Promenade, which is also sealed off.
At Hemsby homes at risk of erosion were teetering dangerously on the cliff edge last night and UKIP County Councillor Jonathon Childs tweeted that a lot of the beach at Hemsby had been eroded causing a 10ft drop. Cley bird reserve was flooded by 7.30pm and North Norfolk Police have tweeted that the A149 at Cley is flooded and have advised motorists to us alternative routes.
In Walcott families were unable to return to their homes last night as the Coast Road was flooded. After initially being evacuated to the Lighthouse Pub, some spent the night at Stalham High School, while others stayed with friends and family.
Power was restored to the village at about midnight following a blackout that affected approximately 450 homes in the area.
The weather continueed to cause travel disruption this morning with Stagecoach unable to serve Cley and Sheringham due to a road closure and trains between Lowestoft and Norwich were cancelled as engineers checked for flood damage.
Twenty flood alerts remain in place along the Norfolk and Waveney coast and a Met Office yellow weather warning has been issued for ice and snow until midday tomorrow.
Doug Wilson, Flood Duty Manager at the Environment Agency said: “Environment Agency teams are out on the ground today inspecting and repairing any damaged defences, and will continue to warn and inform the public of flood risks, as necessary. We wish to thank the emergency services, local authorities, the military and volunteers who worked with Environment Agency staff to prepare for this event.”
The Coastguard had warned high tides could reach the levels of 2013, when water levels exceeded those in the devastating floods of 1953.
Emergency services attempted to evacuate more than 5,000 homes on the coast yesterday and tonnes of sandbags helped construct makeshift defences against the sea waters.
Two hundred soldiers and an additional 50 police officers were deployed to Great Yarmouth to help with evacuations.
Despite warnings given by emergency services groups of people continued to throng the coast around Great Yarmouth, and one man even leaped into the River Yare as the surge was approaching its height.
Crews responded to more than a dozen flood-related incidents, including people stuck in flood water at Salthouse and breaches in the sea defence at Great Yarmouth.