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Flood update - 10:30am - 7 December 2013

At 8:25am this morning the Suffolk Resilience Forum formally called an end to the major incident that was declared in response to the tidal surge.

Whilst the clean up operation continues senior officers from agencies across Suffolk are satisfied that there is no further threat to communities from coastal flooding.

Suffolk Police and Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service will continue to have a presence in the affected areas to offer support to local communities.

The following road closures remain in place:

• A12 Blythburgh

• B1127, Reydon

• A1069, Snape

Teams from Suffolk Highways are standing by to begin cleaning these roads as soon as the flood waters subside to ensure they can reopen as soon as possible.

David Skevington, Assistant Chief Constable, Suffolk Constabulary said: The Suffolk Resilience Forum met again this morning to review the situation and were content that with no further threat from flooding, an end could be called to the major incident declared on Thursday morning.

"The response from Suffolk communities has been excellent. They have remained calm throughout, listened to the advice given to them and taken the appropriate steps to keep themselves safe.

The impact on those whose properties have been affected by flood waters will be hard felt - we wish them well.

I must also pay tribute to all the emergency services and other agencies involved with the response who have worked well together to safeguard Suffolk people.

"Tide levels will continue to be monitored but intelligence from the Environment Agency shows that future high tides will be significantly lower that those seen on Thursday and Friday.

Local authorities have produced some guidance for local people, including those returning to houses that may have been affected by flood water.

The advice is as follows:

Risks from flood water

It's rare to get infections from flood water however it's sensible to take some precautions. Try to avoid direct contact, wear waterproof clothing, beware of concealed hazards and wash hands with warm, clean water.

If people feel unwell, they should contact NHS direct or their GP. Tiredness, difficulty sleeping and anxiety are normal in these circumstances. If people feel overwhelmed, they should contact family, friends or their GP. Keep warm. Getting cold can lead to Hypothermia.

Children

Don't allow children to play in flood water affected areas, even concreted areas (until cleaned). It is OK for them to play on grassed areas one week after a flood. Flood water contaminated toys should be washed with hot water and detergent before being used. Soft toys should be washed in 60oC water.

Food

Unless cooked first, don't eat any food contaminated by flood water, frozen or fresh (including food grown in allotments or gardens). Don’t eat fresh food from the fridge or freezer if your electricity has been turned off.

Rats and pests

Pests can move into homes following flooding. Store rubbish away from pests and contact your district/borough councils to have them dealt with.

Tap water

Tap water is usually unaffected so safe to drink. If not, your water company will inform you. If water is cut off and you need to prepare formula milk for babies, use bottled water which has been boiled, and cooled, If you can't boil the bottled water, use the water immediately after opening it.

Insurance

If you're assessing flood damage to your home, please contact your insurers before taking action like throwing out furniture. Advice is available from the Association of British Insurers: pwww://www.abi.org.uk

What do you with your waste?

Normal waste and recycling collections are taking place in Waveney and Suffolk Coastal. Waveney Norse would also like to support residents or businesses who are seeking to dispose of larger items or materials damaged by the flooding. Please call them on 01502 527100 and they will provide advice and guidance about how and when they can assist with any disposal.

Deceased lifestock

In the event of animals drowning, collection and disposal should be arranged with an approved animal by-product collector as soon as possible. In certain cases, there are limited exemptions allowing the burial of pets and horses, however advice should be obtained first as there are strict guidelines on when this option can be considered.

If there are any safety or practical issues which may delay the collection and disposal of carcases, keepers should contact Suffolk Trading Standards so that they are aware of the situation and advice can be obtained if necessary. If keepers need any further help or guidance regarding fallen stock disposal, please contact Suffolk Trading Standards on 01473 264859.

Suffolk County Council Flood Helpline

The helpline has now been closed down. If you require assistance, contact the relevant emergency service/local authority/agency in the usual way.

Independent Advice

The National Flood Forum is the leading charity dedicated to supporting and representing flood risk communities. It can offer advice and support on how to start the recovery process if the worst has happened.

Telephone 01299403055, or visit their website – www.floodforum.org.uk

Flood update - 3pm - 6 December 2013

The high tide which hit the Suffolk Coastline at lunchtime today caused significantly less damage than the high tide and surge tide which hit on the night of December 5.

Multi-agency flood responders continue to monitor the situation but the next high tide - due to arrive in Lowestoft before midnight – is predicted to be substantially lower than the previous two tides, with no risk of flooding.

However, a flood warning has been issued for the area of Beccles Quay and Geldeston, both on the River Waveney, affecting approximately 10 properties.

And police officers have visited residents in six properties near Martlesham Sluice, to advise them of a possible flood risk following damage to the sluice gate.

Elsewhere, residents who evacuated flood risk affected areas last night are being advised to return home.

Local authorities have produced some guidance for local people, including those returning to houses that may have been affected by flood water.

The advice is as follows:

Risks from flood water

It's rare to get infections from flood water however it's sensible to take some precautions. Try to avoid direct contact, wear waterproof clothing, beware of concealed hazards and wash hands with warm, clean water.

If people feel unwell, they should contact NHS direct or their GP. Tireness, difficulty sleeping and anxiety are normal in these circumstances. If people feel overwhelmed, they should contact family, friends or their GP. Keep warm. Getting cold can lead to Hypothermia.

Children

Don't allow children to play in flood water affected areas, even concreted areas (until cleaned). It is OK for them to play on grassed areas one week after a flood. Flood water contaminated toys should be washed with hot water and detergent before being used. Soft toys should be washed in 60oC water.

Food

Unless cooked first, don't eat any food contaminated by flood water, frozen or fresh (including food grown in allotments or gardens). Don’t eat fresh food from the fridge or freezer if your electricity has been turned off.

Rats and pests

Pests can move into homes following flooding. Store rubbish away from pests and contact your district/borough councils to have them dealt with.

Tap water

Tap water is usually unaffected so safe to drink. If not, your water company will inform you. If water is cut off and you need to prepare formula milk for babies, use bottled water which has been boiled, and cooled, If you can't boil the bottled water, use the water immediately after opening it.

Insurance

If you're assessing flood damage to your home, please contact your insurers before taking action like throwing out furniture. Advice is available from the Association of British Insurers: pwww://www.abi.org.uk

What do you with your waste?

Normal waste and recycling collections are taking place in Waveney and Suffolk Coastal. Waveney Norse would also like to support residents or businesses who are seeking to dispose of larger items or materials damaged by the flooding. Please call them on 01502 527100 and they will provide advice and guidance about how and when they can assist with any disposal.

Deceased lifestock

In the event of animals drowning, collection and disposal should be arranged with an approved animal by-product collector as soon as possible.  In certain cases, there are limited exemptions allowing the burial of pets and horses, however advice should be obtained first as there are strict guidelines on when this option can be considered.

If there are any safety or practical issues which may delay the collection and disposal of carcases, keepers should contact Suffolk Trading Standards so that they are aware of the situation and advice can be obtained if necessary. If keepers need any further help or guidance regarding fallen stock disposal, please contact Suffolk Trading Standards on 01473 264859.

Suffolk County Council Flood Helpline

The helpline has now been closed down. If you require assistance, contact the relevant emergency service/local authority/agency in the usual way.

 

Tidal Surge Update -  December 2013 - 10:00am

Multi Agency flood responders continue to work together following last night’s storm surge - and the high tide predicted for later today, Friday 6 December.

Overnight there was flooding in coastal areas of the county, following the issuing of severe flood warnings by the Environment Agency.

This morning the Environment Agency has downgraded all severe flood warnings for the Suffolk coast to flood warnings.

Environment Agency engineers are in the process of inspecting flood defences at critical locations prior to the next high tide at 11.15am at Lowestoft.

A small number of roads continue to be affected by flood water.

The main road closure is the A12 at Blythburgh, this road is likely to be closed for the rest of the day, however diversions are in place.

Bridge Road, Snape (Outside the Crown PH) remains closed as does the B1127 Lowestoft Road at Reydon. The C428 Aldeburgh to Thorpeness road is closed and Shingle Street is cut off by floodwater.

The Strand at Wherstead is now open.

In Lowestoft, Belvedere Road near to the Bascule Bridge in Lowestoft has been cleared of water and is now open.

However, there is still standing water in Denmark Road, the Peto Way roundabout and at London Road South where a team of Firefighters assisted by volunteers are assessing the situation to see if water can be pumped away. They will also be providing advice to local residents about the clearance of flood water.

Firefighters have received a small number of calls in relation to flooding; they will only be attending flood calls where there is a risk to life, vulnerable people or risk of fire. All other calls will be attended by an officer who will assess the situation.

People should only call the Fire and Rescue Service in case of an emergency

“Last night we were faced with some very challenging conditions, but everyone worked well together in a bid to minimise harm to people and property."

Assistant Chief Constable David Skevington

Members of the public are being advised to heed notices warning that footpaths are closed due to flooding. This is because they are impassable and unsafe.

Agencies continue to issue advice in relation to standing flood water as follows:

  • Not to enter flood water as you can’t see any hidden obstacles beneath the surface.
  • That overloaded sewer systems can discharge raw sewage into the flood water with the associated health risks. 
  • If your house has been affected by flooding you should seek qualified help when looking to turn back on gas and electric.
  • Keep listening to your radio or local TV channel or go to www.suffolk.police.uk for the latest update. 

Suffolk Police Assistant Chief Constable David Skevington, who is leading the multi-agency response, today said:

“Last night we were faced with some very challenging conditions, but everyone worked well together in a bid to minimise harm to people and property. I am not referring only to emergency services, local authorities and other agencies but also volunteers from across the county who showed such community spirit in many ways such as opening additional rest centres in threatened communities; they deserve our thanks.

“However, we can’t be complacent there are further high tides coming to the coast and we must remain vigilant. I would urge people to continue to monitor local media, the Environment Agency website or phone the Flood Line on 0845 988 1188.”

 

Update - 6 December 2013 - 06:00am

It has been a

It has been a busy night for Suffolk’s multi agency flood responders.

Police have deployed additional resources on the ground to make personal visits to the homes within the areas most likely to be affected to provide advice and guidance around safety and potential evacuation.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue have also been very busy. They have attended 18 flood and fire related incidents rescuing 27 people in the process.

The ambulance service committed additional resources to helping move vulnerable service users to safety out of the flood risk areas. In addition resources were strategically placed to ensure that calls for service across the county could be addressed.

Overnight the environment agency has continued to research and consider the available information in order to help model the risk of further flooding. In addition Suffolk have drafted in additional resources dedicated to inspecting the sea defences in daylight in order to facilitate swift repairs.

The multi-agency response will continue to consider the potential risks around two further significant high tides, one around lunchtime Friday and one around midnight Friday into Saturday. It is likely that the county’s state of readiness to respond will be maintained for a protracted period while these are assessed.

The impact on the transport network is still being assessed. High winds caused some disruption to the rail and road network. Rail companies are putting details of the disruptions to their service on their website and people are advised to check there before travelling. Flooding at Blythburgh has closed the A12 for the rest of Friday 6 December. The highways agency will update once the road is ready to be reopened.

Currently the following roads have been closed due to the flooding;

  •  A12 at Blythburgh
  •  Bridge Road, Snape (Outside the Crown PH)
  •  London Road South, Junction with St Johns Road, Lowestoft
  •  The Strand, Wherstead.

Flooding can bring the risk of power disruption even after additional precautionary steps have been taken. UK Power Networks continue to work as part of the joined up response to help minimise the risk of this occurring for the Suffolk community.

Some schools in affected areas have already announced they will not be opening and parents are advised to check the Suffolkclosures.suffolk.gov.uk website for further detail. This information will also be repeated on BBC Radio Suffolk.

The basic advice remains, we are advising people:

  • Not to enter flood water as you can’t see any hidden obstacles beneath the surface.
  • That overloaded sewer systems can discharge raw sewage into the flood water with the associated health risks.
  • If your house has been affected by flooding you should seek qualified help when looking to turn back on gas and electric.
  • Keep listening to your radio or local TV channel or go to www.suffolk.police.uk for the latest update.

Suffolk Police Assistant Chief Constable Tim Newcomb, who is leading the multi-agency response, said:

“The multi-agency responders to this incident have been working incredibly hard throughout the night to minimise the risk to Suffolk residents. It’s not over yet. We want to ensure that our plans for the next 24 hours are appropriate in order to address the next two potentially significant tide levels which will be at lunchtime and midnight. There is always an element of uncertainty when trying to predict the natural environment but we will keep the public informed about our plans and approach. At the same time we also need to start to think about what needs to be done to clear up.”

 

Tidal Surge Update - 6 December 2013 - 01:20am

A local authority rescue centre has been set up in Ipswich as unusually high water is expected in the town around the waterway.

The high tide hit Lowestoft and other areas of the Suffolk coast on the evening of Thursday 5 December and is expected to hit Ipswich at around 2am.

Police officers are in the process of visiting homes in the area of the town that are potentially at risk.

A local authority centre has been set up at Maidenhall Sports Centre on Maidenhall Approach, Ipswich, IP2 8NZ.

Agencies across the county continue working through the night to respond to the threat of the floods.

Residents should monitor Suffolk Police and Suffolk County Council social media accounts for updates and advice. Additionally people can monitor the local media as well as the Environment Agency website.

People can also find out more information by calling the Agency’s Floodline on 0845 988 1188.

 

Tidal Surge Update - 06/12/13 - 00:05am

Two further severe weather warnings have been issued by the Environment Agency in relation to Suffolk.

Earlier today 14 severe weather warnings were issued in the county. This evening Bawdsey and Orfordness and the tidal Stour estuary have been added.

Police officers will be attempting to make contact with the owners of properties in these areas to provide details of the action that needs to be taken but in the meantime residents, particularly those in low-lying properties are advised to take the following advice:

Stay calm and do not panic.

If road conditions permit, move vehicles to unaffected areas for example higher ground and ask friends / family if you can share their parking facilities.

  • Listen to the advice of the authorities and follow any instructions to leave the property.
  • Switch off gas and electricity.
  • If possible, move electrical equipment and furniture upstairs.
  • Any furniture that you cannot move upstairs, try to raise well off the floor.
  • Block doorways and air bricks – sandbags are not available via local authorities.

A rescue centre has been set up at Orford Town Hall and if it is safe to do so residents may wish to leave their properties and stay somewhere else. However, residents are urged not to attempt to walk or drive through floodwater.

Additionally two flood warnings have also been issued in relation to Woodbridge and Melton and the tidal Orwell Ipswich wet dock.

As the high tide begins to hit the county a number of areas are starting to see flooding including roads such as the A12 at Blythburgh, the Bascule Bridge at Lowestoft and Stoke Bridge in Ipswich. As such Suffolk Police are advising people not to travel unless necessary.

Assistant Chief Constable Tim Newcomb said:

“Officers from agencies across the county are working together to ensure the risk to residents in those areas is kept to a minimum. It is important that residents listens to advice from police and the environment agency and keep up to date with any developments.

“A number of flooding warnings have been issued through the day and we would ask people not to travel around any areas that could potentially be affected by high tides.”

On no account should people be considering venturing out to view the tidal surge as they could put themselves at considerable risk.

Four local authority rest centres have been set up at:

Water Lane Leisure, Water Lane, Lowestoft, NR32 2NH

Leiston Leisure Centre, Red House Lane, Leiston, IP16 4LS

Brackenbury Sports Centre, High Road East, Felixstowe IP11 9JF

Carlton Colville Village Hall, Hall Road, Carlton Colville Lowestoft NR33 8BT

Those that have chosen to remain in their homes are advised that if their property becomes isolated by flood water, they should remain in their property.

On no account should people be considering venturing out to view the tidal surge as they could put themselves at considerable risk.

Agencies across the county will continue working through the night to respond to the threat of the floods.

Residents should monitor Suffolk Police and Suffolk County Council social media accounts for updates and advice. Additionally people can monitor the local media as well as the Environment Agency website.

People can also find out more information by calling the Agency’s Floodline on 0845 988 1188.

 

Tidal Surge Update - 21:30pm

The tidal surge which will affect the Suffolk coastline later tonight is likely to arrive up to an hour earlier than predicted – and may be slightly higher.

The next high tide at Lowestoft was expected at about 11pm.

However, the tidal surge has hit parts of Norfolk about an hour early – and in some cases has been 200-300mm higher than estimated.

Police officers have now finished knocking on the doors of residents whose properties are likely to be affected as they are within the 14 areas subject of severe flood warnings by the Environment Agency.

As of 7pm this evening, approximately 100 people had attended the four local authority rest centres at the following locations:

Water Lane Leisure, Water Lane, Lowestoft, NR32 2NH

Leiston Leisure Centre, Red House Lane, Leiston, IP16 4LS

Brackenbury Sports Centre, High Road East, Felixstowe IP11 9JF

Carlton Colville Village Hall, Hall Road, Carlton Colville Lowestoft NR33 8BT

Others have made their way to rest centres run by local community groups in locations including Kessingland and Southwold.

Those that have chosen to remain in their homes are advised that if their property becomes isolated by flood water, they should remain in their property.

On no account should people be considering venturing out to view the tidal surge as they could put themselves at considerable risk.

Agencies across the county will continue working through the night to respond to the threat of the floods.

People are urged to continue monitoring the local media for updates as well as the Environment Agency website. People can also find out more information by calling the Agency’s Floodline on 0845 988 1188.

Tidal Surge Update - 17.46pm
Police are urging motorists to take care on the county’s roads this evening, Thursday 5 December due to storm conditions in coastal areas.

Working with partner agencies as part of the Suffolk Resilience Forum it is anticipated that the following two roads will be closed by flood water:

A12 Blythburgh;

The Strand at Wherstead.

We would like to emphasise that the two river crossings in Lowestoft have not been closed and there are no plans to close them, but this will be monitored closely as the evening progresses.

We would remind people to follow their local media to find the latest updates but also visit the Environment Agency website or call the Environment Agency Flood Line on 0845 988 1188

 

Tidal surge update - 2.50pm

Residents living in approximately 1000 properties on the Suffolk coastline are being encouraged to evacuate as a tidal surge travels down the county this evening.

Where possible, people living in the 14 severe flood risk areas, as identified by the Environment Agency, should make arrangements to stay with friends or family outside the affected areas.

Alternatively, the Suffolk Resilience Forum has identified four rest centres in the county for people who are likely to need to relocate as a result of flooding.  The locations are as follows: 

  • Water Lane Leisure, Water Lane, Lowestoft, NR32 2NH
  • Leiston Leisure Centre, Red House Lane, Leiston, IP16 4LS
  • Brackenbury Sports Centre, High Road East, Felixstowe IP11 9JF
  • Carlton Colville Village Hall, Hall Road,Carlton Colville Lowestoft NR33 8BT

Rest centres will be open from 4pm and people who need this facility are encouraged to make their way to their nearest centre as soon as possible.

Full details of the areas affected by the severe flood warnings, as well as maps, are available on the Environment Agency website.

Police officers are in the process of visiting the affected properties in communities covered by the warnings, requesting that residents evacuate and giving details of their nearest rest centre.

Discussions are ongoing with community groups to identify if other centres need to be opened to meet local requirements.

The following advice is offered for those preparing for evacuation: 

  • Stay calm and do not panic.
  • Police officers and / or other officials will try to visit all properties at risk to advise on the requirement to evacuate.
  • If road conditions permit, move vehicles to unaffected areas for example higher ground and ask friends / family if you can share their parking facilities.
  • You will hear about your evacuation point for transport and the location of the reception centre either verbally or by a leaflet.
  • Try to check that any elderly / vulnerable family members or neighbours know about the evacuation.
  • Try to inform family members / friends as to where you are evacuating.
  • Listen to the advice of the authorities and follow any instructions to leave the property.
  • Take special foods and medicines;
  • Switch off gas and electricity.
  • If possible, move electrical equipment and furniture upstairs.
  • Any furniture that you cannot move upstairs, try to raise well off the floor.
  • Do not forget to lock all doors and windows.
  • Block doorways and air bricks – sandbags are not available via local authorities
  • Avoid walking and driving through floodwater, there could be hidden hazards.

 

5 December 2013

As a result of the nine severe flood warnings issued by the Environment Agency in relation to Suffolk's Coastline a major incident (Operation Fulstone) was declared by the Suffolk Resilience Forum at 07:30 this morning.

Senior officers from key agency from across Suffolk have been meeting with the key aim of safeguarding the people of Suffolk and protecting property as far as is possible.  

Approximately 1000 properties in the following nine areas to the north of the county are likely to be affected: 

  • Lowestoft seafront and docks
  • North bank of Lake Lothing
  • Oulton Broad nr Mutford Lock
  • Aldeburgh and Thorpeness
  • Snape, Iken and surrounding marshland
  • Riverside Business Park and Kirkley
  • Blythburgh and marshes upstream of A12
  • South bank of Lake Lothing from Bourne Business Park to Mutford Lock
  • Southwold and surrounding marshland

Police officers are attempting to make contact with the owners of properties in these areas to provide details of the action that needs to be taken. A leaflet containing key information has been produced and is being handed out by officers. 

Precautionary evacuation of properties in these areas is being recommended.  Rest centres are being established and the location of these will be available in due course.

A further four severe flood warnings relating to the eastern area of the county have more recently been issued by the Environment Agency and the Suffolk Resilience Forum is now working through plans for the following areas.

  • Tidal Orwell, Ipswich
  • Felixstowe Ferry and Bawdsey Quay
  • Isolated riverside properties on the Deben Estuary
  • Felixstowe Ferry Hamlet and the Deben Marshes

David Skevington, Assistant Chief Constable Suffolk Constabulary said: "The most recent modelling by the Environment Agency has made it clear that areas of the Suffolk Coastline and surrounding residential and commercial properties are likely to be affected by flood waters.  Officers from agencies across the county are working together to ensure the risk to residents in those areas is kept to a minimum. It is important that residents listen to the advice and direction that is given to them by officers on the ground and take the appropriate action.  

"Rest centres are being set up to ensure there is somewhere safe for people to remain for the duration of the incident.

"We anticipate a number of roads will be closed later today due to flooding. I would urge people to monitor the local media and the environment agency website to ensure they keep up to date with any developments."  

Agencies involved include:

  • Police 
  • Fire and Rescue
  • East of England Ambulance Service
  • Environment Agency
  • Suffolk County Council
  • Waveney District Council
  • Suffolk Coastal District Council
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