5 December 2013 Last updated at 13:56

Severe weather: Updates from East Anglia on 5 and 6 December


    Good afternoon. With severe weather expected this afternoon and tonight, we'll be bringing you the latest updates from across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.

    We'd love to hear your comments and see your pictures - you can email them to us or tweet us at @BBCNorfolk @BBCSuffolk and @BBCEssex.

    UK storm alert 1416:

    BBC Weather's Tomasz Schafernaker has more on the severe weather warnings that have been issued of severe gale force winds across large swathes of the UK.

    Norfolk evacuation 1423:

    Norfolk Police has sent an alert to Twitter users saying: "Around 9,000 properties being visited by police officers and staff to advise on plans for imminent evacuation."

    The latest updates can be viewed here.

    Bridge over troubled water? 1427:

    BBC Radio Norfolk reporter Andrew Turner took this picture of the Haven Bridge at Great Yarmouth this morning.

    Haven Bridge

    How are conditions where you are? Get in touch at east.newsonline@bbc.co.uk.

    Suffolk shelters 1436:

    The Suffolk Resilience Forum has announced five shelters which will be open from 16:00.

    They are Waterlane Leisure Centre, in Lowestoft; Leiston Leisure Centre; Brackenbury Sports Centre, in Felixstowe; Southwold Sports Pavilion and Carlton Colville Village Hall.

    Jaywick evacuation 1443:

    Essex Police says an evacuation of Jaywick has begun and it has put out a list of all the streets being evacuated on its website, as well as a host of other important information.

    Sandbags going fast 1454:

    Free sand and sandbags being handed out by Great Yarmouth Borough Council are going fast.

    Leader Trevor Wainwright says the authority has ordered 50,000 sandbags, but 20,000 have already been taken by members of the public in two hours.

    Southwold waves 1459:

    Lesley in Southwold told BBC Radio Suffolk: "It's very dark and people are starting to move away from the seafront.

    "The waves aren't huge but I know those waves do pick up very, very quickly and get very, very large."

    Jaywick evacuation 1506:

    BBC Look East has sent reporter Gareth George to Jaywick, in Essex, where people have been told to leave their homes ahead of the expected tidal surge.

    Fire engine at Jaywick
    Mobile alerts 1516:

    Police forces in the East have begun issuing emergency flood alerts via their Twitter feeds, which can be sent as a text message or push notification to any mobile phone. You can sign up here:

    Cley and Morston evacuated 1526:

    North Norfolk District Council says the villages of Cley and Morston are now being evacuated due to the threat of the oncoming tidal surge.

    A spokesman says: "Affected householders along the North Norfolk coast will be informed by police officers assisted by community support officers and designated flood wardens."

    Wells on alert 1532:

    BBC Look East's Debbie Tubby faced the elements in Wells-next-the-Sea as she reported on the lunch-time bulletin.

    Debbie Tubby at Wells

    She said some residents had been told to leave their homes by 18:00. The caravan park on the quay has already been evacuated.

    Robert Smith, harbour master at Wells, said the water was due to rise to only about 4in (10cm) less than the great floods of 1953.

    Driving hazards 1539:

    A taxi driver says cones were "flying across the road" near the Orwell Bridge, while another driver, also near the bridge, told BBC Radio Suffolk "giant hail stones" had cracked his windscreen.

    Jaywick evacuation 1546:

    BBC Essex's James Waterhouse tweets: Emergency vehicles starting to gather at the golf club ahead of the evacuation

    Jaywick evacuation
    Early closing 1555: Alison Acton BBC Radio Suffolk

    Alison tweets: #Wind really picking up in #Ipswich town centre. Some market stall traders closing early. #Storm latest on @BBCSuffolk

    Police visit homes 1600:

    Norfolk Police say officers and flood wardens will be visiting 9,000 homes in Great Yarmouth likely to be affected by flooding, asking people to leave temporarily.

    Flood warden visits home

    They say anyone who is unable to leave should contact them or Great Yarmouth Borough Council for help.

    BBC Radio Norfolk 1606:

    BBC Norfolk tweets: Flood coverage continues on BBC Radio Norfolk with Matthew Gudgin 4-9pm and Graham Barnard 9pm-1am. Listen on 95.1FM & 104.4FM #floodaware

    You can also listen live online via the BBC iPlayer.

    Libraries closed 1614:

    Suffolk Libraries says Lowestoft Library and Oulton Broad Library have closed early on police advice.

    They are expected to open as normal tomorrow.

    Rail delays 1622:

    There are problems for rail travellers this afternoon. Greater Anglia tweets: #Diss-following an obstruction on the line between Diss-Norwich, services between Liv St-Norwich may be cancelled/ delayed up to 30 mins. KM

    Rail delays 1622:

    Greater Anglia also tweets: Due to an obstruction on the line between Great Bentley-#Weeley, trains via these stations may be cancelled/ delayed up to 45 mins. KM

    Advice ignored 1632:

    Some residents living in Southwold, Suffolk, are ignoring advice to evacuate their homes, mayor Simon Tobin has said.

    He said there was concern about "vulnerable" people choosing to ignore the warnings.

    "If they still feel passionate about staying in their house and then there is serious flooding, and then they go upstairs and the electrics go off, they get cold and wet," he told BBC Radio Suffolk.

    'Sticking it out' 1642:

    BBC Essex's Charlotte Hayward, who has spent the day in Jaywick, says a number of people are not evacuating and are preparing to "stick it out" over fears of looting and not being able to look after their pets.

    Police in Jaywick

    She said some residents are simply packing their cars ready in case they need to make a quick dash.

    However, she added a "horde" of police officers are in the area trying to persuade people to leave, particularly those living in bungalows who cannot sleep on higher ground.

    Bridges open 1648:

    Norfolk Fire Service tweets: Flood update: All bridges in the Yarmouth area are open. Stay #floodaware in #Norfolk at via @norfolkpolice

    Travel news 1650:

    The A134 going out of Sudbury and towards Colchester has been blocked by a fallen tree, callers have told BBC Radio Suffolk.

    Travel news 1657:

    Another fallen tree on the A134, this time in Sicklesmere, near the Hawstead Lane junction.

    Keep an eye on BBC Travel for the latest local updates.

    Suffolk shelters 1707:

    Shelters for residents include beds and food and have "enough space to house everyone affected" by the tidal surge, Waveney District Council says.

    East Kent flood warnings 1717:

    Residents of Sandwich, east Kent, are preparing for the storm surge with sandbags being placed around doorways, the BBC's Simon Jones reports.

    Severe flood warnings have been put in place by the Environment Agency for Gravesend, Denton, Greenhithe, Sandwich and the coast from Higham Marshes to Seasalter, excluding Sheerness and Queenborough.

    'Idiotic' advice 1723:

    An experienced fisherman tells the East Anglian Daily Times that it would be "completely idiotic" to go out to sea today.

    Look East 1730: Stewart White Presenter, BBC Look East

    Join Amelia Reynolds and me for Look East at 18:30 on BBC1 when we'll have the latest on the severe weather.

    Debbie Tubby will be reporting live from Wells in north Norfolk, Kim Riley has been on the Suffolk coast and Gareth George has been looking at how Essex is preparing. We'll also be speaking to the Environment Agency and Alex Dolan will bring us an up-to-the-minute weather forecast.

    Look East newsroom

    Here are producers John Cranston and Rachel Sharman putting the programme together.

    Rail delays 1739:

    The Essex County Standard reports overhead line problems between Colchester and Manningtree have disrupted rail services.

    Smashed windscreen 1748:

    Kellie Mason from Stowmarket says she was left "shaking" after crossing the Orwell Bridge at about 15:00.

    "It was almost like being in a riot - there was so much debris, metal, branches hitting the car," she said. "As a result my windscreen was smashed.

    "Why the Orwell Bridge was opened this afternoon I will never know."

    Have you been affected by today's flood alerts and storm conditions? Send us your comments and photos to east.newsonline@bbc.co.uk

    Evacuation centres 1756:

    Essex Police say Clacton County High School, Clacton Coastal Academy and Clacton Leisure Centre have all now been set up to accommodate 500 people during the tidal surge.

    'Quiet night' hopes 1803:

    Mark Hardingham, chief fire officer in Suffolk, says extra firefighters are on duty tonight but he hopes that good planning and advice given to the public throughout the day will lessen their work load.

    "I think if people take that advice and move out of flood risk areas I think potentially we could have a quiet night," he told BBC Radio Suffolk.

    Flood preparations 1807:

    Mike Hervey-Murray tweets: "Felixstowe prepares"

    Flood gate closed in Felixstowe

    Send your pictures of flood preparations to east.newsonline@bbc.co.uk

    RAIL UPDATE 1812:

    More on those problems on the railway. Greater Anglia reports damage to overhead wires caused by falling trees at Wivenhoe, Manningtree and Diss.

    On its website, it says: "At present there are no services in either direction between Colchester and Norwich and between Colchester and Clacton. Customers are advised not to travel at present and we are working to reopen the lines later this evening."

    Transport disruption 1819:

    Homes around the east coast of Kent are preparing for the predicted storm surge.

    "Rail travellers and ferry passengers are facing long delays tonight as high winds cause chaos to key transport routes," reports Kent News.

    "Train operator Southeastern is warning of delays and cancellations on all lines this evening."

    Look East goes to air 1824:

    Final preparations are under way for tonight's Look East at 18:30 on BBC One in the East with reports from the Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex coast.

    The Look East gallery

    This is the gallery, the "engine room" of Look East where what you see on screen is directed.

    Water breach 1829: Jill Bennett Reporter, BBC Radio Norfolk

    Jill reports from King's Lynn that water has breached the Purfleet sluice gate. Currently water is only one foot below the quay.

    Listen to the latest from BBC Radio Norfolk.

    Kent braced for surge 1837:

    The storm surge is expected to hit the east and north coasts of Kent just after midnight.

    Four severe flood warnings have been issued by the Environment Agency.

    This could be the first major test for new flood defences which have been built along the Kent coast.

    Evacuation advice 1845:

    Residents living in about 1,000 properties on the Suffolk coast are being encouraged to leave their homes and stay with friends or family who live outside the areas expected to be affected by the tidal surge.

    Looting fear 1850:

    BBC Essex's Charlotte Hayward tweets: Ben and Donna have chosen NOT to evacuate their bungalow for fear of looting #jaywickflooding pic.twitter.com/e6DI25ihra

    Jaywick couple

    Floodwater has already breached some properties in Wells.

    BBC Look East's Debbie Tubby, reporting from The Golden Fleece on The Quay, says: "The whole town has now been given a flood alert, although the homes on the quays have a severe flood warning.

    Debbie Tubby in Wells

    "We're being told to leave the pub because it's been flooded drastically below."

    Thames effect 1906:

    Andrew Farrar, from the RSPB, tweets: "Taking capacity out of the Thames means storm surge impacts in Essex and Kent would probably be more severe."

    The Thames Barrier is due to close tonight to protect London from floods.

    'A very serious surge' 1916:

    Julie Foley, of the Environment Agency, tells BBC Look East: "It's a very serious coastal surge event and it's really important that everybody listens to the authorities and looks at and takes notice of our flood warnings.

    "We've been monitoring this storm for a couple of days so it's given us an opportunity to plan.

    Julie Foley

    "We're fully prepared. We have also checked all of our defences and they are all in very good working order as well."

    Blakeney floods 1921:

    Allan Urquhart, who has lived on the seafront in Blakeney, brought a rowing boat to the King's Arms pub to collect a friend.

    He said: "I'm going to row back to the house and we'll stay upstairs tonight. We've put sandbags in place so hopefully we'll be ok, I'm as confident as I can be.

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

    Police 'mistake' 1928:

    Suffolk Police says earlier today officers "mistakenly" knocked on doors in Woodbridge and Melton and told people to evacuate their homes.

    The force now says no-one in Woodbridge or Melton, except for two homes on the Sutton side of the river, now needs to evacuate.

    School help 1938:

    Catering staff at St Felix School near Southwold, Suffolk, have been preparing food for about 200 local people advised to leave their homes.

    Catering staff at St Felix School

    Head teacher Fran D'Alcorn told BBC Look East: "We're just pleased to be able to do something for the local community at this very difficult time.

    "I understand the warning is out for the next 36-40 hours so we will do everything we can to help."

    Heading south 1948:

    BBC Essex is planning a special programme starting from 22:00 as the storm heads south. The focus is currently further up the coast, with reports of some defences being breached in north Norfolk.

    Wells-next-the-Sea floods 1952:

    BBC Radio Norfolk's Clare Worden in Wells-next-the-Sea reports that there has now been a power cut on town's quayside with water levels continuing to rise.

    'Serious incident' 1957:

    The One Show had a live report from Great Yarmouth.

    Ch insp Neil Baily

    Ch insp Neil Baily, of Norfolk police, told the BBC One programme: "The message is clear. This is a serious incident."

    High tide in King's Lynn 2003: Mike Cartwright BBC Look East

    Water levels are very high in King's Lynn.

    Water levels in King's Lynn

    Sandbags are being handed out by the Environment Agency but some water has seeped under the flood defences.

    There's a smell of sewage in the streets.

    We don't know if any homes have been flooded but there's hope the levels will now go down.

    DIY sandbags 2010:

    In his latest bulletin broadcast on BBC Radio Suffolk and BBC Radio Norfolk, Steve Blower said Great Yarmouth Borough Council was providing sandbags at six locations in the town.

    But some people have been collecting their own sand from the beach.


    BBC Radio Norfolk's Vikki Irwin is in Great Yarmouth, where water has breached some defences.

    She says: "There are people standing here watching the waves ferociously lapping against the promenade."

    Suffolk shelters open 2026:

    The aptly-named Waterlane Leisure Centre in Lowestoft has welcomed its first guests.

    Two people and a dog at Waterlane Leisure Centre, being used as a shelter

    It is one of five shelters announced by the Suffolk Resilience Forum earlier.

    Others, being run by local groups, have also opened around the county to help people who have been advised to leave their homes.

    Train problems 2033: Andrew Sinclair BBC East political correspondent

    Very busy scenes at Colchester station where trains from London have been terminating.

    Greater Anglia has been laying on bus transfers but the first train departs Colchester at 20:30, bound for Norwich. Passengers have been told one line is open through the damaged section at Ardleigh.


    The Conservative MP for Great Yarmouth Brandon Lewis has told BBC Radio Norfolk in the past few minutes that the Army has been called in to help fight the floods in Gorleston. According to Mr Lewis, the Army is currently helping to erect temporary flood barriers.

    Waveney warning 2043:

    Waveney District Council is urging residents in threatened properties to vacate as soon as possible.

    Reports suggest that the tide is far higher, far earlier than expected and residents should not wait until immediately before the predicted surge peak at about 23:00 to head to a shelter.

    Pub prepares 2048:

    Suffolk landlord Nick Attfield has spent the day clearing the ground floor of Southwold's Harbour Inn, where the high water mark of the 1953 floods is recorded on an outside wall.

    The Harbour Inn, Southwold

    "I know that this is pretty serious," he told BBC Look East.

    "For me to open as quickly as possible after this I have to take all of these actions."

    West Mersea warning 2100:

    Essex Police says it is warning West Mersea residents whose homes are at risk of being flooded tonight and into tomorrow.

    A rest centre has been set up at the Mersea Centre in the High Street.

    An evacuation zone covers Carriers Close, Coast Road (Vicinity of West Mersea Yacht Club), Goings Lane, Shears Crescent, Kingsland Beach and The Lane (west end only).


    BBC Radio Norfolk's Andrew Turner has sent in this picture of rising tides in Great Yarmouth.

    Haven bridge, Great Yarmouth

    This shot was taken next to Haven Bridge.

    2110: Andrew Sinclair BBC East political correspondent

    Trains are still running slowly between Diss and Norwich, where another section of track has been damaged

    'Pier submerged' 2124:

    Southwold Lifeboat tweets: "Walberswick pier is now almost submerged. Looking very high. The rest of the harbour is now well under water."

    Gorleston seafront 2132:

    Some people have been ignoring warnings to stay away from the seafront in Gorleston.

    Gorleston promenade

    A small number of people have been looking on as giant waves crash into defences.

    Revised Suffolk warning 2139:

    The Suffolk Resilience Forum says it expects the tidal surge to hit the Suffolk coastline "up to an hour earlier than predicted - and may be slightly higher".

    It said the next high tide at Lowestoft was expected at about 23:00.

    A spokesperson said the tidal surge had hit parts of Norfolk an hour early, and "in some cases has been 200-300mm higher than estimated".

    Bridge closure 2147:

    Oulton Broad road bridge is to be closed shortly, Waveney District Council says.

    It says water levels are now too high for cars to cross safely.

    Look East 2154:

    Presenter Jenny Kirk is putting the finishing touches to the late night Look East bulletin.

    Jenny Kirk

    News is continuing to come in from BBC reporters around the region as the full picture continues to emerge.


    BBC Radio Norfolk's Vikki Irwin, in Great Yarmouth, reports "hundreds" of people are gathered along the seafront watching the violent storm.

    "What I really can't believe is the number of people watching the waves as if it's some kind of spectator sport while putting their lives at risk," she says.

    Bascule Bridge closes 2210:

    The Bascule Bridge in Lowestoft has closed.

    "Traffic now being prevented from crossing Bascule Bridge in Lowestoft by the police, due to flooded access at both ends," Waveney District Council says.

    2218: Alison Acton BBC Radio Suffolk

    BBC Radio Suffolk reporter Alison Acton tweets: "The sea as it gets ever closer in #Aldeburgh this evening."

    Sea at Aldeburgh
    2225: Andrew Sinclair BBC East political correspondent

    The woes of travellers using the London to Norwich train line continue.

    Passengers offered complimentary drinks after being told it'll take 90 minutes to travel between Diss and Norwich. Normally the journey takes just over 15 minutes. Fallen trees have brought down overhead lines. Some passengers on train left London at 15:00.

    Lifeboat station lost 2234:

    BBC Radio Norfolk reporter Andrew Turner says Hemsby lifeboat station has fallen into the sea.


    The National Trust-owned Brancaster Activity Centre, in Brancaster Staithe, is under water, its owners report.

    Brancaster Activity Centre

    Alex Green, a learning officer, says: "It's a mess. The water is about two foot high. It has flooded before but not for 20 years, as far as I know."

    'Severe flooding' warning 2254:

    The Environment Agency has issued a severe flooding warning in Suffolk, warning of potential "danger to life".

    The warning covers Orford Ness to Bawdsey, including Butley.

    The forecast high water is due at 23:00.

    Flooding is expected for harbourside properties in Orford and properties in Butley, Shingle Street and surrounding marshland, the Environment Agency said.


    BBC Radio Norfolk will be bringing you full coverage of any floods in the county until 01:00. Graham Barnard is presenting a special programme with reporters based around the coast with regular updates on the situation.

    Graham Barnard, BBC Radio Norfolk

    We'd also love to hear about the situation where you are. Please give us a call on 01603 617321.

    Cromer Pier 2308:

    Six people had to be rescued from Cromer Pier tonight, the Eastern Daily Press reports.

    Trains suspended 2316:

    Geraint Hughes, from Greater Anglia, says some train services in Norfolk and Suffolk will be suspended until at least 10:00 on Friday.

    "For the rest of the night our colleagues at Network Rail will be working extremely hard to try and resolve some of these overhead line issues in times for service tomorrow morning," Mr Hughes told BBC Radio Suffolk.

    "We've had services suspended on the lines from Norwich to Lowestoft, Norwich to Yarmouth, part of the Suffolk line between Beccles and Lowestoft and also the line between Ipswich and Felixstowe.

    "There won't be any trains on those services until about 10:00 tomorrow morning."

    Lowestoft 'cut off' 2319:

    BBC Radio Suffolk reporter Guy Campbell says flood water in Lowestoft has left some people "effectively cut off".

    Lowestoft flooded

    "Where the new Joseph Conrad pub is is completely flooded - no-one can go there at all," he said. "The water is streaming up the High Street.

    "With the Oulton Broad bridge and the Bascule Bridge closed, this northern part of Lowestoft is effectively cut off.

    "The only way out is through Haddiscoe, but we think that's probably flooded as well.

    "I've never seen scenes like this in Lowestoft."

    Roads closed 2328:

    As expected, the Strand at Wherstead and the A12 at Blythburgh are closed due to flooding, says BBC Travel.

    Lifeboat station 2337:

    A wooden structure previously used as a lifeboat station in Hemsby, Norfolk was washed into the sea tonight, the coastguard says.

    At least two other wooden structures used as homes were also swept away as the storm hit at about 20:30, says a spokesman.

    'Far from over' 2347:

    Geoff Brighty, of the Environment Agency, tells BBC Look East the storm is "far from over".

    Geoff Brighty, Environment Agency

    "We will see the surge go along the coast into Essex over the next three or four hours," he says.


    There are 44 severe flood warnings in the Anglian region, says the Environment Agency.

    The warning means there is a "danger to life", the agency says.

    'Staying put' 0000:

    In Essex, the 2,500 householders in Jaywick were being asked to sign a declaration by police if they decided not to leave their homes.


    BBC Look East's Gareth George says: "If the householders say they staying, they are asked to sign a declaration saying they have had the risks explained to them."

    But he added most residents he spoke to were "staying put".

    Power cuts 0009:

    UK Power Networks have listed dozens of places in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex where power has been cut off.

    There are 16 places in Norfolk, 10 in Suffolk and 14 in Essex where there have been power cuts.

    'No dogs on beach' 0017:

    Andy Pope sent in a photo of how the sea has crept up on to the promenade at Felixstowe.

    Felixstowe pier flooded

    If you have any photos you want to share, please email east.newsonline@bbc.co.uk


    Floods have hit the Ipswich Waterfront area, reports the East Anglian Daily Times.

    Some nearby roads have been closed, says the newspaper.

    Shotley Marina 0031:

    Local resident Max Wardley says the water levels at Shotley Marina is "pretty high already".

    Shotley Marina

    It is not yet high tide, but Mr Wardley says the water has "now come over the loch gates and into the marina".

    Prayer for evacuees 0035:

    The Right Reverend David Thomson, acting Bishop of the St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese, says his "thoughts and prayers" are with those being evacuated from their homes.

    "We pray there will be as little damage to people's homes and property as possible," he said.

    A12 cleared 0038:

    BBC Travel says a lane on the A12 northbound at Martlesham Heath, near Ipswich, has reopened and queues have cleared.

    A vehicle and trailer had overturned near the Newbourne Road junction.

    Radio coverage 0042:

    BBC Radio Suffolk is broadcasting special programmes throughout the night to cover the tidal surge.

    Nick Risby is on from 01:00.

    Sandbag helpers 0046:

    Neil Collingridge emailed us this photo of flood water in Waldringfield, Suffolk.

    Flooded house in Waldringfield

    Please send your photos and updates to east.newsonline@bbc.co.uk


    BBC Essex is receiving reports of flooding around the county, with Mersea Island cut off.

    There is flooding at Harwich quay and water levels are rising in Point Clear.

    Harwich surface water 0103:

    Elysia Jai said surface water can now be seen on roads in Harwich, Essex.

    Flooding in Harwich

    Email your photos and updates to east.newsonline@bbc.co.uk

    Ipswich shelter 0105:

    Maidenhall Sports Centre has opened as a shelter for anyone affected by the flooding in the Ranelagh Road, Burrell Road and Wherstead Road area of Ipswich.

    The reverend Ali Chesworth told BBC Radio Suffolk: "We're developing capacity for 120 beds, sleeping bags are all out and airbeds are being pumped."

    Essex emergency line 0109:

    An emergency line has been set up for people who need help evacuating in Essex: 0800 096 1233

    Boat on street 0113:

    Geraldine Murphy spotted this boat getting around the flooded streets of Lowestoft.

    Boat in Lowestoft streets
    Suffolk shelters 0118: Guy Campbell BBC Radio Suffolk

    The Waterlane Leisure Centre in Lowestoft is very well organised.

    You see some of the families coming in and their faces tell a story. They're getting a very warm welcome but they don't want to be here.

    Radio handover 0123:

    Mark Murphy has handed the presenting baton over to Nick Risby, who will be live on air in Norfolk and Suffolk until 04:00.

    BBC Radio Suffolk team

    Stay tuned for the latest on the flooding.

    (In case it's not clear, the sign says Floods 2013)

    Goodnight 0127:

    That's it for us for this evening.

    Thank you very much for staying with us and for your invaluable contributions throughout the night.

    Stay tuned to your local BBC radio station for the latest updates on the storm: BBC Essex, BBC Norfolk and BBC Suffolk.

    The live page will return at 06:00.

    As it happened

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