Homes evacuated in Britain over flooding threat

Snow and wind causes travel chaos with airports cancelling some flights

 

Homes are being evacuated and warnings of life-threatening floods are in place as Britain’s east coast prepares for high tide.

Thousands of residents have been told to leave their properties ahead of a storm surge, which has left communities along the coast at risk of flooding.

The Environment Agency has issued 14 severe warnings — which warn of danger to life — with those in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex most under threat.

The army is on stand-by to assist with its response to any flooding.

The east coast will be hit by the storm surge during the second high tide from Friday afternoon until the early hours of Saturday, with gale-force winds and higher than usual tides expected to bring waves crashing over coastal defences.

Thousands of residents in Jaywick, near Clacton-on-Sea, in Essex, are being evacuated and Norfolk Police said they have urged people in around 5,000 properties to leave their homes — a figure which could rise to 7,000.

Suffolk Police have identified around 1,880 properties at risks.

Elsewhere, the UK Met Office has issued severe weather warnings across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for combinations of high winds, snow and ice caused by a polar air mass that originated over northern Canada.

Travel

As heavy snow settled across northern Britain, travel was disrupted and some schools closed. The defence ministry said about 100 soldiers had been deployed to Skegness on the Lincolnshire coast, where about 3,000 residents were urged to leave their homes or move upstairs.

With a forecast of further snow and wind, 80 flights have been cancelled at Heathrow and four at Gatwick, and passengers are advised to check flight status with airlines before travelling to airports.

Some flights at Manchester Airport have been delayed due to snowy conditions.

Snow

The heaviest and most frequent snow showers are expected across northern and western Scotland, Northern Ireland and around Irish Sea coasts. There were yellow “be aware” warnings of wind and snow for Scotland, with gusts of up to 96km/hr (60 mph) in places, and 10-20cm (4in-8in) of snow on higher ground. The warnings extended to northern parts of England and Wales.

The outlook for the UK over the weekend was for generally dry weather on Saturday, with sunny spells across most of England and Scotland and a few showers, locally wintry, in Northern Ireland and western and easternmost parts of Britain. Sunday will be wetter and milder, with longer spells of rain in the south and some mist and fog developing later.

Agencies