Advice and guidance has been issued to residents on and around the East Coast of Lincolnshire in preparation for tomorrow’s (Friday’s) potential storm surge.
Around 3,000 properties sit behind the sea defences where emergency services and authorities have designated as ‘high risk’ if the sea defences are ‘overtopped’ as stormy conditions hit the coast between Donna Nook and Gibraltar Point.
However, the Lincolnshire Resilience Forum, which is leading the response to the predicted weather system, which is set to collide with the high tides at 6.30am, says however, that the entire East Coast should ‘keep an ear out’.
The peak time for the high risk zone is currently between 6.30am and 9.30am.
Lincolnshire Police Chief Constable Neil Rhodes who is coordinating the response, said: “At the moment we are relatively confident that the defences won’t be breached but just over topped.”
There are no plans to evacuate homes at the moment, but residents are asked to follow several pieces of advice in case that changes later during the day or night.
Firstly, Mr Rhodes said people should stay away from the sea defences, adding ‘don’t come along to take photographs’.
He said there were always ‘thrillseekers’ in similar circumstances and said they would be given ‘short shrift’ by officers.
He also asked people to ‘think about their neighbours’ particularly those who may not be picking up messages.
“There’s a significant elderly population,” he said, “but what we’re really concerned about is the small number of people who are effectively housebound.”
He said: “We are actively trying to identify people with mobility problems but it is something people can think about.
He also asked people to be aware and pass the message on to areas of the community who may not be aware of current events.
These could include non-English speaking communities such as Eastern European migrants.
Residents should also begin thinking about where they might go should they be evacuated, are there family and friends they can stay with?
But the most important thing he said, was to ‘stay tuned’ to local media, Twitter and Facebook as well as initiatives such as Floodline. The LFR is using a hashtag #LincsStormSurge to keep people updated.
Mr Rhodes said: “Hopefully we’ll find these precautions aren’t needed and the sea defences will hold but it’s really important that we make precautions in case that’s not what happens.”
Anyone outside the high risk zone should also keep an ear out in case of any changes.
Ministers have also agreed to a request by Lincolnshire Police for military support should the need arise.
It follows the MP for Skegness and Boston Matt Warman tweeting: “If anyone doubts the seriousness of #lincsstormsurge Ministers have agreed to police requests for military support.”
A spokesman for the LFR said details were to be confirmed.
A flood alert issued by the Environment Agency this morning said flooding was possible.
It read: “Stormy conditions are forecast, resulting in a large tidal surge moving down the Lincolnshire coast on Friday morning.
“This will lead to unusually high water levels in the Wash and tidal rivers. The high tides combined with strong winds are likely to result in waves overtopping the flood defences and wind-blown spray, causing localised flooding.
“We are currently monitoring the situation and will issue Flood Warnings as required later today. Please tune in to the local radio or TV stations for the latest information. Avoid coastal paths and promenades. Do not attempt to drive through flood water.”
A command centre has been set up in Lincoln and will be working throughout to update residents on the situation.
The Environment Agency has been keen to point out that the weather system is not similar to the one which caused the 2013 tidal surge.
No houses have been or are currently planned to be evacuated - though emergency services will update people if that changes.
The EA has also issued some advice to residents through the scheme and has asked people to sign up to floodline for further information. People can also keep up to date by following #LincsStormSurge on Twitter.
- Be prepared to protect yourself, family, pets and property.
- Prepare a flood kit including a torch, batteries, mobile phone, warm clothes, water, food and any prescription medicines you may need.
- Avoid walking, cycling or driving through flood water.
- Farmers should consider moving livestock and equipment away from areas likely to flood.
- Be careful along beaches, promenades, coastal footpaths and roads.
- Keep an eye on local water levels and weather conditions. Visit the Environment Agency website www.gov.uk/environment-agency for river level and flooding information.
- Call Floodline on 0345 988 1188 using quickdial 03113 for up-to-date flooding information.