Villagers advised to leave over tidal surge flooding fears

Waves at Cleethorpes
Image caption Waves pounded the seafront at Cleethorpes on Thursday evening during the tidal surge

Towns and villages along the Humber estuary have been affected by flooding as the highest tidal surge in 60 years passed along the coast.

People living in Burringham, Gunness, Keadby and Amcotts, West Butterwick and Goole were advised to evacuate.

Further up the coast 200 properties were flooded in Whitby and the seafront overtopped at Scarborough.

Dene Sanders, of Humberside Fire and Rescue, said the floods were "a rehearsal for tomorrow's high tide".

He added: "Prepare yourselves, this is serious."

Meanwhile, Humberside Police said they had reports of people at Cleethorpes running into the tidal waters.

A spokeswoman said: "The consequences of this are severe and the force of the tide and the wind could take those people away, with nothing anyone can do to stop it."

North East Lincolnshire Council confirmed 150 people had been removed from affected villages along the upper reaches of the River Trent.

Earlier, the Environment Agency had urged people at Kilnsea, Hessle Haven to the Humber Bridge and Blacktoft to leave the area.

North Lincolnshire Council said vulnerable people in villages along the upper reaches of the River Trent had been contacted and found accommodation as the flood water rose.

The surge brought flood waters to the Victoria Dock residential area of Hull at high tide.

The Environment Agency said the surge was "the most serious coastal tidal surge for over 60 years to hit the North Sea coastline".

Plunged into darkness

In Whitby, the surge tide breached the harbour walls and flooded dozens of nearby properties.

As emergency crews worked to check properties and keep the area safe the harbour area of the town was plunged into darkness as power supplies failed.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) Whitby tweeted: "Whitby like a post-apocalyptic movie earlier. No power, no traffic, dark, flooded streets. All sorts of rubbish strewn everywhere."

Dan Johnson, BBC TV reporter at the scene, said: "Street lights are out, the lights in houses are out, the only illumination is the flashing lights of the emergency vehicles."

In Whitby, the Environment Agency's Tony Anderyszewski said it was one of the biggest tides they had seen at the port.

He said it had caused flooding in properties around the harbour.

"The old harbour overtopped, filled up and flooded many of the properties around the harbour, it's one of the biggest tides we've ever witnessed," he added.

The surge brought flood waters to the Victoria Dock residential area of Hull at high tide.

In Scarborough, the town council distributed sandbags in preparation for flooding as seven flood warnings were in place along the borough's coastline.

Residents and visitors were being "strongly urged" to stay clear of the shoreline, sea walls, promenades and piers with the combination of strong winds and high water expected to lead to severe wave overtopping in some areas.

The council and emergency services warning of "a significant risk to life to anyone choosing to ignore warnings".

Drivers were being told to avoid seafront roads and observe any road closures.

Ben Hughes, the Environment Agency's incident manager, said: "Coastal paths and promenades could be highly dangerous as there is an increased risk of being swept out to sea.

"People are warned to stay away from the shoreline."

More than 20 coastal flood warnings had been issued for East and North Yorkshire and North East Lincolnshire.

Image caption The tidal surge barrier was lowered in Hull and held back a 5.8m surge, the highest on record

The Environment Agency had issued a total of 23 flood warnings for the North Yorkshire, East Yorkshire and North East Lincolnshire coasts, warning that flooding was expected and immediate action required.

'Worst combination'

Oliver Harmer, flood risk manager, said: "We could get flooding of some properties and it's really dangerous. People are being warned to stay away from the shorelines.

"It's unfortunately the worst combination and we haven't seen it for some time. We're asking people for extra vigilance."

The agency would continue to monitor the situation "really carefully", Mr Harmer said.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council said an emergency control centre had been established in order to respond quickly to any floods.

Glenn Ramsden, from Humber Rescue, an independent charity which provides a fast response rescue boat on the Humber Estuary, told BBC Radio Humberside the team had been using one of its boats to ensure the safety of people living on Hessle foreshore near the Humber Bridge.

He said: "We've been systematically going through houses to make sure people are rescued or safe.

"It's just starting to recede now so if you are safe, sit tight.

"It's terrible for everyone, but everyone - excuse the pun - is in the same boat.

"We're all going to have to get through this together".

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