Sussex coastline set for high tides and flooding

Waves batter into the sea wall of a marina in Brighton on 28 October 2013
Image caption Waves battered the coast off Brighton during the St Jude's storm in October

High tides, large waves, and coastal flooding with winds of up to 70mph have been predicted for the Sussex coastline over the next 24 hours.

The Environment Agency said the unsettled conditions would begin in the early hours of Friday.

Members of the public have been urged to stay away from the coastline, coastal paths and promenades.

Julia Simpson, regional duty manager, said there was an increased risk of being swept out to sea.

'Common-sense precautions'

Brighton and Hove City Council said due to the storms over the last week the shape of the beach had changed and was extremely steep in some places, making it dangerous to walk close to the water's edge.

It urged people to stay well away and to be extra vigilant of young children, holding their hands, and also keeping dogs on leads.

Hastings Borough Council urged residents in low-lying areas of the town to take "common-sense precautions".

It warned that very high tides were expected at about midnight on Thursday and at midday and midnight on Friday which, combined with strong winds creating high waves and low pressure, could lead to "overtopping of the sea defences".

'Exceptional weather'

The Environment Agency said recent heavy rain, saturated ground and high river levels meant there was also a continued risk of river and surface water flooding across the region.

Earlier, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson chaired a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee, in which the UK's flood response was discussed.

He warned that a period of "exceptional weather" would hit the UK with tidal flooding expected in "numerous locations".

Mr Paterson said ministers were working to ensure all agencies were prepared.

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