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Fierce storms force mass evacuations in England as man is killed

image captionThe tidal surge hit Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, at about 17:00 GMT

A man has died and thousands of homes have been evacuated or left without power as a fierce storm battered large parts of England.

The man was riding a mobility scooter when he was struck by a falling tree in Retford, Nottinghamshire on Thursday.

The Environment Agency said the North Sea tidal surge was set to be the worst in 60 years.

Philip Rothwell from the organisation said he was "very concerned" about what may happen overnight.

"We think it will be equal to, if not worse than that which we saw in 1953, which was a disastrous flood causing many casualties," he said.

An agency spokesman said that in the "worst-case scenario" 6,000 properties could be flooded.

In Lincolnshire, emergency planners said up to 18,000 homes in the Boston area could be affected by flooding.

In Norfolk, the army was called in to help build temporary flood barriers in Gorleston, the Conservative MP for Great Yarmouth, Brandon Lewis, said.

Members of the the Light Dragoons helped erect the barriers to protect homes and the telephone exchange in Great Yarmouth.

Flooding was also reported in Blakeney and Wells-next-the-Sea.

image captionLocal people try to protect their properties in Wells-next-the-Sea in Norfolk

Earlier, 20,000 homes across Cumbria and Teesside were left without power as the heavy winds and tidal surge made its way down the east coast from Scotland.

Roofs blown off

The River Tyne and River Tees burst their banks in the North East as heavy rain forced dozens of major road closures from about 16:30 GMT.

Dave Cocks from the RNLI in Redcar said the tide on the River Tees was the highest measured "for 150 years".

In Lincolnshire, people were warned to leave their homes and members of public were asked not to attend the accident and emergency department of Pilgrim Hospital in Boston unless absolutely necessary.

In Essex, the 2,500 householders in the town of Jaywick were being asked by police to sign a declaration saying they had been warned to evacuate but had decided not to heed police advice.

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

In the Midlands, a pilot trying to land a plane at Birmingham Airport was forced to abort the manoeuvre at the last moment due to heavy winds.

A separate Flybe flight from Jersey, due to land at the same time, was diverted to East Midlands Airport because of the same problem.

media captionDavid Goodship filmed the plane as it was due to land

The storm was forecast to move south throughout the evening with emergency services urging homeowners to take precautions.

It was expected to drift down the east coast into Suffolk with Lowestoft, Southwold and surrounding marshes expected to be under threat at about midnight.

High winds had earlier caused lories to overturn in Greater Manchester and on the Redheugh Bridge in Newcastle during the morning rush hour.

image captionSeahouses in Northumberland was hit by the storm

An Easyjet flight from Bristol to Edinburgh was diverted to Newcastle due to the high winds, but was struck by lightning on approach to the airport.

In New Brighton, Merseyside, flooding took place during high tide on the seafront.

Elsewhere in England:

  • Hundreds of families were evacuated from their homes in Port Clarence, Teesside
  • Seafronts in Whitby and Scarborough, North Yorkshire, were clattered by waves leaving businesses flooded
  • The tidal surge barrier in Hull was lowered to protect the city from water and police used loud hailers to warn people to leave the Victoria Dock area
  • Humberside Police said they had reports of people running into the tide at Cleethorpes
  • Winds of 106 mph were recorded on Durham North Fells and 75 mph gusts at Boulmer, Northumberland
  • Schools in Hartlepool and Doncaster were closed when roofs were blown off buildings

High winds and heavy rain led to long delays for commuters during the evening rush hour.

Network Rail said it had attempted to keep as much of the network open as possible but there were reports of passengers being stranded at stations including Manchester Piccadilly.

East Coast said it hoped to run a normal service on Friday after severe disruption on Thursday.

More on this story

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

  • Donna Nook seals to be protected against storms

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