This live event has finished
- Flood emergency services hotline: 0800 0961233
- Key risk time is high tide at around midnight
- Evacuation zones in parts of Jaywick and West Mersea
AN OPEN air swimming pool was cordoned off after emergency services received reports of a gas cloud surrounding it.
Specialist hazard teams from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service were called to Promenade Way, Brightlingsea, at about 12.53pm today to close off the area.
Flood water surrounded the pool, park and surrounding beach huts following flooding the previous night.
With electrics fizzing and gas rising a 20 square metre exclusion zone was set up.
It is believed chemicals and sea water have mixed letting off potentially toxic smoke.
Station Officer Mark Wilby, incident commander, said: "There has been flooding here in Brightlingsea after the sea wall was breached last night and the swimming pool and its pump house and chemical room are under approximately four feet of water.
"It seems as if sea water has entered the chemical room and it has mixed the chemicals stored in their creating a smoky gas cloud.
"Crews were unable to reach the room because of the water so we established a hazard zone.”
This incident is ongoing.
Many of their cars have not been so fortunate.
People at Great Bentley Country Park have had to be rescued this morning.
Our reporters and photographers have been assessing the damage and speaking to those affected by last night's floods. Here is the scene at Clacton County High School, an evacuation centre until this morning.
11:10am: Residents are told they can return to their homes, as there are no more severe flood warnnigs in place.
Although this was the biggest test to north Essex's 400km of coastal walls since 1953, the Environment Agency said 49,655 properties were protected.
Essex Police has confirmed while some properties were flooded, there were no casualties or other serious incidents.
Superintendent Trevor Roe said: “On behalf of Essex Police and our partners we would like to thank the public for working with us and for evacuating their properties when asked to.
"This incident has shown once again that community spirit is at the heart of Essex with everyone pulling together to keep each other safe.”
Essex Police and its partners will continue to provide help and support to residents as they return to their homes.
8.28am Essex Police say the flood situation has now been downgraded from severe flood warning to a flood warning.
There is still some risk to properties but the high tides have passed and whilst the full picture will not be known for some time, it appears that the county has fortunately not seen the same conditions as other parts of the country.
The Environment Agency will be out assessing the flood defences to determine if any remedial work needs to be carried out.
The majority of the people who were evacuated from their homes have now left the rest centres.
The emergency services worked with local authorities, Essex County Council, Health Service, Environment Agency and the military to ensure that the residents in the local communities near to the coast and rivers were kept safe.
The situation in Essex, which has one of the longest coastline in the country, changed quite rapidly during the night.
rom an initial two main areas of severe flood warning, a further seven areas were added by midnight.
Chief Supt Simon Williams, Gold Commander said: "Contingency plans were implemented to protect the communities of Essex.
"All emergency services and authorities have worked tirelessly through the night to minimise the threat to the lives of those in the county.
"We are grateful for the additional support provided by military personnel from the Colchester Garrison and by mutual aid supplied by the Metropolitan Police.”
Anyone who wants to know the latest situation regarding the risk of flooding in their area should contact the Environment Agency hotline on 0845 988 1188 or visit their website www.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood
There will be more coverage online later today as our team of reporters analyse tonight's events in the cold light of day.
And of course full report in Monday's Gazette (as today/Friday's is already at the printers - but it is, as always, worth a read!)
As a final note before I sign off the night I pass on some gloomy news - meteorologist Tom Defty reports very low chance of a white Christmas in Essex this year.
Tom Defty at Essex Weather Centre tells BBC Essex sea levels are now falling and the county's coastline was saved from major damage due to the tidal surge arriving an hour early.
Next high tide could be higher than predicted originally, but not as worrying as tonight's because of the surge and winds (as per our last update).
For your info the next high tide times and heights. Note some are higher than the current ones, but of course the concern also factored in tidal surge and high winds which could be less of a factor later:
- Mistley 2:14pm 4.45m
- Harwich 1:53pm 4.2m
- Walton 1:50pm 4.5m
- Clacton 2:01pm 4.9m
- Brightlingsea 2:13pm 5.5m
- West Mersea 2:18 5.7m
- Burnham 2:50pm 5.5m
Essex Weather Centre reports the sea levels at Harwich are now "steady" at 5.46m.
Brightlingsea is not cut off so we are told by a kind tweeter (thanks @Brightlingsea99)
@HarwichStandard I'm still up. We just went and sat in the car up a hill until after high tide. Home again now and all's well. (Although....— @amalum 06 December 2013
RT @mackemmariner: @essexwill Oyster Tank Rd car park is under 3-4ft of water, roads around The Waterside are flooded, Fieldgate Dock flood…— @TheGazette 06 December 2013
Sea levels are still rising at Harwich even after high tide which occured about 30 minutes ago: http://t.co/r3Q5Pi9xSJ— @EssexWeather 06 December 2013
@maldonstandard evacuated but went to family in Hatfield Pev, nervous about house listening to bbc Essex flood watch # blitzspirit— @Terryhey 06 December 2013
It's past high tide at Jaywick and our reporter says no major issues.
About 5 minutes until high tide at West Mersea.
Floating beach hut... #mersea #island #storm #flood #surge http://t.co/kNMWulbr5G— @georgewalton16 06 December 2013
The team @Clactonweather have sent us this interesting graph showing the early peak of tide in Walton.
#Brightlingsea #Essex tonight #Colchester #Clacton #FloodAware http://t.co/QN2dL1sO4V— @Alan_199 06 December 2013
@EssexWeather We have all been evacuated in Heybridge, Police, Fire and Army are all out in full force in the area! A bit worrying really!— @RubysBoutique1 06 December 2013
UK Power Networks says it is aware of power cuts across Essex (and the region) including:
- Great Bentley
- In a statement the company said:
"We have installed flood prevention measures at key substations in at risk coastal areas. If there’s a possibility flood water will affect our equipment our first priority must always be safety. We may have to turn off peoples’ electricity supplies but only as a last resort for safety reasons and of course, we would switch the mains supply on again as soon as possible. Your home may be part of an affected area even if not directly flooded.
"We have robust emergency plans in place to cope with severe weather and have arranged additional staff covering engineer, technical and call centre roles."
A number of our weather stations across Essex reporting a recent increase in strength and frequency of wind gusts.— @EssexWeather 06 December 2013
UPDATE: Air ambulance to attend Mersea Island to evacuate the casualty.
@TheGazette Colne is close to their record, but just checked it & it's 2ft off banks. Wiv Barrier doing it's job! http://t.co/NkaiP0FhGD— @LeeRevis 06 December 2013
1:25am Fri 6 Dec 13
harwich is great says
Massive thanks to all of you, for the above, and to Essex Police, your updated information was fantastic, and proved a huge help to many, well done, just a shame that the news stations on tv didnt show the same concern as you both did. I emailed BBC, ITV and Sky news to complain, their coverage of Nelson Mandela took over from keeping UK citizens updated on the current flooding situation, but thankfully we had yourselves and the police.
High tide due at Jaywick at 01:35 - approx. 7 minutes.
Chief Constable of Essex Police Stephen Kavanagh, who is by the sea wall in Jaywick, told our reporter at the scene: “This has been an unprecedented operation involving hundreds of officers not just here in Jaywick but around the county.
“Unfortunately many people have believed they were going to be OK but the scenes here are making people think differently.
“It is an incredibly serious situation.
“This is worse than what we were expecting earlier for this time.
“The saving grace is there doesn’t seem to be the strong wind which had been predicted.”
He added Environment Agency advice says this is stronger than expected and people should be listening to advice for their areas.
“We are here to support the residents.”
Taken around 12.40am. Up to the corner of the Coach House Coffee Shop. #brightlingsea #flood http://t.co/eWexSGo7Ch— @BseaSpotted 06 December 2013
Coastguard dealing with a medical emergency on Mersea Island and trying to arrange evacuation.
Standard Mersea high tide http://t.co/8aj9jRl5Q5— @21clarky 06 December 2013
RT @ClactonRNLI: @HMCG_Thames are currently dealing with a medical emergency on mersea island trying to arrange resources to evacuate the c…— @maktheknight 06 December 2013
Clacton&walton teams deployed to various areas re flooding— @clacton_CG 06 December 2013
Some serious damage to beach huts towards the Naze with some total loss #staysafe— @WaltonRNLI 06 December 2013
To clarify a SARA officer is a specialist fire officer, Ryan tells me.
Ryan adds the water level is high up the sea wall in Jaywick but still not over the top.
Last update from Ryan on the scene down in Jaywick.
SARA officers say sea wall expected to be breached at Brooklands. Strongly recommend ev1 to evacuate now— @TheGazette 06 December 2013
Only on mersea does someone row down the road #hightide http://t.co/6IqiprqyXK— @LevimitchellS 06 December 2013
On Mersea the Strood has been inaccessible for some time now and reports on social media of some minor flooding in Peldon and surrounding villages.
A resident in Burnham reports floating sea pontoons now level with the sea wall.
Some small flooding at sea wall even though water has not broken the wall. http://t.co/p53B0SX6mj— @TheGazette 06 December 2013
RT @EssexWeather: Clacton Pier is currently registering 3.3m which is 1cm off the all time record high for that location: http://t.co/uCF6Q…— @TheGazette 06 December 2013
RT @EssexWeather: Looking very likely now that earlier model predictions were correct and tidal surge has peaked an hour before high tide.— @TheGazette 06 December 2013
By now those of you in Colchester borough should have noticed the street lights have stayed on past the midnight switch-off under new county council scheme.
This was a deliberate decision made by the authority earlier in the day to help emergency services.
Reports of Lower Marine Parade in Dovercourt now under some water (not much yet)
- Police are advising people not to go to flood/seafront areas to watch the floods come in (or not) to prevent emergency services having to rescue extra people.
- That all important helpline number for Essex if you need help/advice: 0800 0961233
RT @xHannahAdams: @TheGazette martello life boat ramp http://t.co/ieVBrYQJQz— @TheGazette 06 December 2013
Here is the Manningtree evacuation zone map (click the link)
RT @Comeonmurray12: Waterside , Brightlingsea, tide another hour to go... http://t.co/o0FtWFAYvO— @TheGazette 06 December 2013
The water is up to Waterside in Brightlingsea with an hour to go until expected high tide.
RT @Schafernaker: Flood warning map Colchester to Ipswich area #ukstorm via http://t.co/saO61XUVff http://t.co/Xpshtl2lVh— @jordannewell 06 December 2013
WARNING: Residents are urged to stay away from the flood risk areas as they could be putting themselves in danger.
Police are receiving information people are going to the area to watch the flooding. The high seas and rising water is unpredictable and the emergency services do not want to have to rescue people who have put themselves in potentially dangerous situations.
RT @HarwichRNLI: #Harwich All Weather #Lifeboat is off the berth holding position in the river. Pontoons riding high on piles. Ha'penny pie…— @WaltonRNLI 06 December 2013
One particular area behind Jaywick Pharmacy has seen quite a change in last 20 minutes. Water moving up quite fast.— @TheGazette 05 December 2013
Also just been stopped by a diligent @EssexPoliceUK officer who said there are reports of ppl driving around Jaywick looking for empty homes— @TheGazette 06 December 2013
Remember plenty of updates on our Twitter feed from reporter Ryan on the ground as well as latest info from emergency services.
Possible answer to the pet question - a Mersea resident says she is at the MICA evacuation centre with her dog. Good news!
First reports of flooding coming in from Brightlingsea. Conditions will deteriorate quickly over next hour in North-Eastern parts of Essex.— @EssexWeather 05 December 2013
Remember for regular live updates from the scene at Jaywick follow @TheGazette on Twitter
Ten boat teams have been deployed in Jaywick, alongside Gloucestershire and Hereford and Worcester fire crews, Essex Fire Brigade's own Urban Search and Rescue teams and Police support.
They are in position in readiness for storm water breaching sea defences.
Ten appliances are in Maldon to assist Police and military in evacuating homes there after severe flood warnings were declared in that part of the County earlier this evening.
Vehicles now leaving Jaywick by the dozen. Though I've just come across another man who's not leaving as doesn't want to leave his dog— @TheGazette 05 December 2013
NHS advice: If you have health needs but need to be evacuated called the NHS 111 number (i.e. dial 111) where staff are waiting to help you.
In Maldon both Upper and Lower Plume Schools are being used as rest areas
Dovercourt evacuation area is Dovercourt High School, Hall Lane.
People will be taken from here to the rest centre at Leisure World in Colchester.
This article will have live updates from Ryan at Jaywick (few technical issues but will be up and running shortly.
Not the best pic but officers stopping at homes with lights on still. Trying to get as many people out as possible http://t.co/IB01a0G8j0— @TheGazette 05 December 2013
Hearing reports of some sea defences in Brightlingsea being broken, but so far around farmland rather than near homes which is not so unexpected.
@TheGazette it's getting worse happenny pier under water http://t.co/PlFUPnOoAN— @NEWSHIRTPLEASE 05 December 2013
Evacuations being carried out in Low Road and Louvain Road areas of Dovercourt.
Essex SC senior team in mustering further officers to support multi agency flood response. http://t.co/nLYpeKBuF5 #EssexSC via @COLeonDias— @rightnowio_feed 05 December 2013
RT @NEWSHIRTPLEASE: @TheGazette THE HARWICH QUAY http://t.co/biu1UyMbyM— @paisley_tedder 05 December 2013
A Heybridge resident reports water backing up into the sink, while we've been sent this picture of Harwich Quay (next message)
Twitter feed from our reporter Ryan Jennings who is down in Jaywick.
Evacuation point set for Manningtree at the Co-op store, Riverside East.
Residents will be transported to the rest centre at Leisure World, Colchester.
A Jaywick resident has said she heard a klaxon sounding at the Jaywick caravan park close to the driveway for the Jaywick Martello Tower about 30 minutes ago. It had been going for quite a while.
More details have been released as to numbers of homes at risk:
- Manningtree town - 233 premises
- Hamford Water/Walton back water to South Dovercourt - 190 premises
- Blackwater North (Heybridge Basin and Maldon) - 2,106 premises
- Maldon to Maylandsea - 168 premises
- Tidal River Crouch from Creeksea to Battlesbridge - 1,458 properties
- Tidal Stour Estuary - 14 properties
Total: 4,169 (in addition to those already identified in Jaywick, Brightlingsea & Mersea
RT @EnvAgencyAnglia: SEVERE FLOOD WARNING issued at 22:11 for the Blackwater North Bank in #Essex. Flooding could affect over 2,000 propert…— @evaQ8_news 05 December 2013
Brightlingsea residents report the water is already very high (up to the Harbour Commission Office on Waterside) with a couple of hours to go until high tide.
However in good news they also report the wind has dropped.
There will also be a reduced train service tomorrow morning as a number of trains are not in the depot due to tonight's disruption.
Tickets valid for travel today on Greater Anglia will be accepted tomorrow.
Further update on trains - mainline Colchester-Norwich to close at 11pm to allow for repairs, with passengers advised to travel via Cambridge/Ely (First Capital Connect accepting tickets)
Another reminder (though it is on our article summary at the top of the page) of those important numbers:
- Environment Agency Floodline (automated service with current flood warnings for each area): 0845 988 1188
- Essex Police flooding information hotline: 0800 0961233
Our reporter on the ground at Jaywick reports most of Brooklands area appears to have been evacuated, but some residents remain in their homes - some even with Christmas lights on.
Police are checking vehicle details for cars going in and out of Jaywick as part of on-going security operation.
Also in Jaywick large emergency services base by Millers Barn Golf Club for the flood operation.
Residents in affected areas will be contacted by police/other agencies and advised to evacuate if need be.
A rest centre is being set up for Maldon residents at the Upper Plume School.
New areas in North Essex identified as at severe risk of flooding:
- Hamford Water (Dovercourt to Walton)
- Heybridge Basin (River Blackwater)
- Maldon to Maylandsea
- Creeksea to Battlesbridge (River Crouch)
- Harwich to Mistley (Stour Estuary)
RT @MattRevilleEA: The tide is coming in earlier and higher than predicted. Stay out of flood water and away from the coast!— @CaroleSach 05 December 2013
The fire brigade have been preparing today for this evening, sending resources to command posts in Dovercourt, Brightlingsea, Mersea and Clacton.
Police are advising drivers to be careful and avoided flooded roads. If you do have to drive through flood water make sure it is not too deep and drive slowly (in summary).
Back to trains - services Colchester-Norwich reported to be running again albeit slowly.
As of 8PM, tidal levels in Harwich were 2.1m higher than expected for that time. High tide due at 01:26.— @EssexWeather 05 December 2013
Evacuation zone announced for West Mersea:
- Carriers Close
- Coast Road (Vicinity of West Mersea yacht club)
- Goings Lane
- Shears Crescent
- Kingsland Beach
- The Lane (west end only)
A rest centre has been set up at the Mersea Centre (MICA) in the High Street.
Essex Civil Protection and Emergency Management warns residents at risk of flooding to make sure all electrical items and personal valuables are off the ground, perhaps stored upstairs or in higher places in the home.
Also interesting to see some severe flood warnings (not for Essex fortunately at present) are still being issued by the Environment Agency.
So make sure you keep checking the latest in your area.
Train update: No trains to Clacton from Colchester tonight. Buses to replace them.
RT @Essex_CC: Winter gritting lorries will be out in Essex tonight. Please drive carefully. Follow them using:http://t.co/SiLf5yWfn0 #Essex…— @Essex_Travel 05 December 2013
Environment Agency latest info states the forecast tide level is 3.808m at about 1.15am on Friday.
Warning in place until further notice, it says.
RT @virtualcolm: Brightlingsea battens down the hatches #brightlingsea #flood http://t.co/MFjMVU52au— @BrightlingseaJ 05 December 2013
RT @EssexWeather: Updated map from @EnvAgencySE showing areas at risk of flooding overnight and into tomorrow: http://t.co/8q7gUbvqj7— @greeny15 05 December 2013
Colchester Council chief executive Adrian Pritchard tells a full council meeting Leisure World and the Weston Homes Community Stadium were made available to evacuees from Tendring, but they will no longer be needed.
He also said about 100 homes on Mersea were evacuated from about 5.30pm.
Essex Police and its partners would like to stress that this is a serious flooding threat to areas in northern Essex and to take the threat seriously.
If people are being asked to move from their homes it is for a good reason and for residents own safety.
Superintendent Trevor Roe of Essex Police said: “There will be flooding on coastal areas in northern Essex.
"I would urge all residents to take this flooding threat seriously and take notice of the advice from the emergency services.”
A force 9 gale can produce waves of 7m - that's higher than 2 HGVs on top of one another #RespectTheWater #StormSurge— @RNLI 05 December 2013
Officers are also carrying out high visibility patrols in the areas that have been evacuated.
A rest centres has now been set up at the Clacton County High School. There will not be a rest centres at Clacton Coastal Academy or Clacton Leisure Centre.
This is a change to the information previously released. The rest centres will have GPs and representatives from the Red Cross in attendance.
Essex County Council has information on its website about school openings.
People can also call Floodline on 0845 988 1188 for the latest flood warnings in their area.
A reminder of the hotline number: 0800 0961233
The risky time tonight is an hour either side of 1.30am (Friday December 6)
Remember it is not only tonight's high tide for which there are warnings. Tomorrow's (Friday's) high tide between noon and 1pm is also a risk.
Flood warning update from emergency services
Essex Police and its partners are working hard to prepare for the severe flooding alerts which are expected to hit the coasts of Essex during the night.
Police officers are knocking on doors in areas that need to be evacuated to ensure that residents are aware of the floods and that they should be evacuating.
They are also building up a picture of where people are who are refusing to leave their homes.
An update on the train situation - Greater Anglia is advising passengers not to travel. Still no services in either direction Colchester-Norwich and Colchester-Clacton/Walton.
SOME residents in Jaywick are refusing to leave their homes in case burglars target empty properties.
Kevin Griffiths, of Morris Avenue, said: “I’m not going anywhere because whenever you get a crisis like this the burglars turn out in force.
“I’m going to stay at home and watch out for people. I don’t think it’s likely to come over the sea wall and I want to watch out for my things and for my neighbours.
“The police have got to be aware of this threat and not just leave Jaywick to be a free for all.”
Police say they will be mounting extra patrols.
The B1018 Essex - B1018 Southminster Road in Althorne is blocked in both directions near the Dairy Farm Road junction, because of fallen power cables.
Away from the coast fallen trees are causing disruption on a number of roads, while rail passengers face a long journey home as power lines are affected between Colchester and Manningtree, and between Great Bentley and Weeley.
Away from the coast fallen trees are causing disruption on a number of roads, while rail passengers face a long journey home as power lines are affected between Colchester and Manningtree, and between Great Bentley and Weeley.
Essex County Council has suspended the part-night lighting scheme tonight to help emergency services and those potentially affected by flooding.
This means lights will stay on between midnight and 5am in areas where they usually go off.
The NHS is advised people who evacuate to take warm clothing, sensible shoes and any medication required.
Emergency contact details for friends and family are also recommended.
In the event of flooding avoid drinking flood water.
Earlier today Chief Inspector Richard Phillibrown of Essex Police said: "Emergency planners from the Essex Resilience Forum, including Essex Police, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, local councils and the Environment Agency are working together to respond to this weather warning.
"We are urging residents not to panic and to please react to directions given to them by the emergency services.
"We would like to reassure the public that we have activated our contingency plans and are experienced in dealing with large scale operations.”
A reminder: It is not just Jaywick at risk.
Environment Agency severe flood warnings are also in place for Seawick, Point Clear and West Mersea.
The first evacuees from Jaywick have arrived at Clacton County High School.
The school has agreed to take up to 1,000 people and will close tomorrow if need be.
Evacuation Assembly Points have been set up at:
- Jaywick Community Resource Centre, Brooklands
- Golf Green Hall, Golf Green Road, Jaywick
- Clacton Golf Club, West Road
- Orchard Holiday Village, Point Clear
- Hutley's Caravan Park, Seawick
- Free Church, Mill Road, West Mersea
Clacton County High School, Clacton Coastal Academy and Clacton Leisure Centre have all been set up as evacuation centres for 500 people each.
A flood evacuation zone has been put in place for Jaywick for all homes south (towards the coast) from Crossways.
Brightlingsea Town Council has issued sandbags to at risk residents, but mayor Ian Block confident 90 per cent of town is not at risk - though town "might be an island tomorrow".
Environment Agency confirmed the Colne Barrier at Wivenhoe will be closed tonight