Norfolk storms: Thousands of homes evacuated

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Media captionFishermen have moved their boats to the outer harbour at Wells-next-the-Sea

Thousands of homes are being evacuated along the Norfolk coast as the biggest storm surge in decades hits the county.

People in coastal areas have been asked to leave their homes for up to 48 hours.

Flooding has been reported in Blakeney, Wells-next-the-Sea and Great Yarmouth.

Conservative MP for Great Yarmouth Brandon Lewis said the Army had been called in to help fight the floods in Gorleston and were putting up temporary flood barriers.

Emergency centres have been set up ready for peak tide at 22:30 GMT.

Image caption Local people try to protect their properties in Wells-next-the-Sea

Allan Urquhart, who has lived on the seafront, brought a rowing boat to the King's Arm 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."

Drew Taylor, from Cley next the Sea, said it was the worst flooding he had seen since 1978.

"This is far beyond normal," he added.

"The speed it's advancing at it is a real worry."

The rail line between Norwich and London was disrupted by damage to overhead wires caused by falling trees in Diss, Manningtree and Wivenhoe.

A Greater Anglia spokesman said: "At present there are no services in either direction between Colchester and Norwich. The line is open between Cambridge and Norwich via Ely."

Properties in Caister and Great Yarmouth including Southtown and Cobholm are affected.

Emergency rest centres at schools in Great Yarmouth opened from 14:00 GMT at Flegg High, Martham Primary, Caister High, Cliff Park High, Ormiston Venture Academy and Lynn Grove High.

Sandbags can be obtained from locations at Beach Coach Station, Pasteur Road car park, Southgates Road, Quay Road in Gorleston, the Runham Road junction and Beaconsfield Road (Northgate end).

In Wells Pinewood Caravan Park the manager has asked occupants of 22 touring vans to leave for a safer location and 61 properties will be evacuated in the East Quay, The Quay and Freeman Street areas.

Ferry service cancelled

The flood barriers at Wells were closed at 17:00 GMT and an emergency centre set up at Alderman Peel High School in Market Lane, Wells.

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Media captionSupt Roger Wiltshire said there would be help for people who are unable to leave their homes

Residents of Cley and Morston are also advised to move out of the area which is low lying and near a river.

In Salthouse some 23 properties were evacuated and a road closure was put in place on the A149 coast road.

About 500 homes in the Heacham, Snettisham and Hunstanton areas are at risk and police are asking residents to leave for their own safety or go to Hunstanton Community Centre in Avenue Road.

They are also asked not to wade through any flood water and to stay away from flooding areas, particularly riversides and seaside areas.

Deputy Chief Constable Charlie Hall said: "Anyone living in a high risk area as identified by the Environment Agency will be asked to evacuate.

"This is to ensure the safety of everyone involved and for the evacuation to be conducted in a planned and organised manner."

Gail Kingston, who runs the ferry across the River Ouse at King's Lynn, said she had decided not to run the service because of high winds and deteriorating weather.

"We have put the boat up securely for the day but will be in operation again on Friday," she said.

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