Emergency services and military from across Suffolk and Norfolk help with floods

From the left, Lieutenant Colonel James Porter (Commanding Officer Kings Royal Hussars), Inspector Donald Dallas (Norfolk Police) and Squadron Leader Steve Turner (Officer Commanding 2 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment).

 Picture: Cpl Dek Traylor / MoD Crown ANL-170114-110907001

From the left, Lieutenant Colonel James Porter (Commanding Officer Kings Royal Hussars), Inspector Donald Dallas (Norfolk Police) and Squadron Leader Steve Turner (Officer Commanding 2 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment). Picture: Cpl Dek Traylor / MoD Crown ANL-170114-110907001

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Fire crews from as far inland as Thetford mobilised to help coastal communities as storm-boosted high tides threatened homes.

Airmen from RAF Honington’s 2 Squadron RAF Regiment also supported Norfolk Police in preparing for the feared floods in Great Yarmouth, until relieved yesterday afternoon by the King’s Royal Hussars, which is one of three UK Standby Battalions, held at readiness to respond to emergencies.

A Thetford fire crew supported Norfolk Police in Walcott yesterday afternoon in preparing for and carrying out an evacuation as flood waters rose and villagers sheltered in the village pub.

The water rescue team and Unimog off-road fire appliance from Bury St Edmunds were based at Halesworth and Southwold throughout the alert.

Police in both Norfolk and Suffolk had to close access to some parts of the coast as sightseers put themselves at risk from the large waves and flooding.

One man was arrested for public order offences after jumping into the swollen River Yare in Great Yarmouth just after 9pm last night.

Norfolk Police Superintendent Dave Buckley said: “Despite numerous warnings from police and our partner agencies to stay away from the water, a small number of people do not seem to be taking this message seriously.

“Whilst we appreciate scenes of high water and strong waves can be impressive, it poses a significant danger and we would urge people to stay away for their own safety.”

This afternoon Norfolk Police said Stephen Wood, 43, of St George’s Road, Great Yarmouth, had been charged in connection with the incident with causing harassment, alarm or distress and obstruction of a police constable in the execution of their duty and has been bailed to appear before Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court on Wednesday January 25.

In Suffolk Bascule Bridge in Lowestoft and Mutford Lock Bridge in Oulton Broad were closed for nearly four hours last night due to the storm surge and there was some flooding in the Oulton Broad area and there were road closures due to flooding in Southwold.

Some residents were evacuated in Lowestoft but were able to return home before midnight after the high tide passed without incident.

Residents in Snape had to wait until 2.30am to go back to their homes.

Norfolk police advised people it was safe to return home just after 10am this morning.

A Norfolk Police spokesperson said: “It’s been confirmed that the high tides did not lead to any significant incident so the closure of rest centres will now be staggered to ensure residents and property owners can return in a safe manner.

Some flood defences have suffered minor damage with agencies assessing the need to repair any potential damage over the coming days.

“Emergency services will continue to offer assistance to vulnerable members of the community who may need help and local authorities will now be offering transport and support for those few residents unable to return to properties affected by flood damage.”

Norfolk County Council’s Public Health team and Public Health England is offering the following advice to keep you and your family safe returning home after flooding:

*Take care with electrics and gas: do not switch on electrical appliances that have been in contact with floodwater unless a competent electrician has checked them.

*Keep children and pets out of the affected area until the clean-up has been completed.

*Remember to wash your hands thoroughly after each clean-up session and always before eating. Do not eat food that has touched flood water.

*Put on protective clothing: rubber boots, an apron and waterproof gloves. A standard face mask, such as those sold in DIY stores, is also a good idea if you are scrubbing, hosing or pressure-washing. Cover any open cuts with waterproof plasters.

*Using clean water, detergent, then a normal kitchen disinfectant, clean and disinfect work surfaces, plates, pans, cutlery, and plastic/glass chopping boards, before preparing food.

*Thoroughly clean all other affected hard surfaces, including walls, hard-surfaced floors and furniture with hot soapy water, using an ordinary household detergent. Allow to dry thoroughly as this will also help to destroy germs left behind.

For frequently asked health questions related to flooding click here