Police order 'immediate' evacuation of homes on Essex coast due flood warnings

Across east England, the Environment Agency has put in place 11 severe flood warnings which warn of a danger to life.

The Environment Agency has warned communities in Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex they are particularly at risk from gale force winds combining with high tides to create large waves that could carry risky debris including rocks.

Armed services were drafted in to the village of Jaywick in Essex yesterday to evacuate thousands of residents.

Everyone evacuated will be sent to a "rest centre" in Tendring where people are permitted to stay until their homes are safe to return to.

Weather warnings are in place for much of Britain with gale force wind, snow and ice expected over the next few days.

The Environment Agency said gale force winds combining with high tides are likely to result in large waves carrying unsafe debris, like rocks.

Floods minister Therese Coffey said: "Our absolute priority is protecting lives, homes and businesses from the threat of coastal flooding now facing the east coast".

The expected flooding is due to arrive after most of the United Kingdom was hit by blizzard-like conditions as snow, gale-force winds and heavy rain resulted in severe weather warnings being issued. The police and the army are now helping to evacuate some 2,500 homes from what is a largely poor neighbourhood in Essex.

Suffolk Police said specific areas of the coast had been identified as being at high risk of flooding - taking in around 1,100 properties which are likely to be evacuated.

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The EA has moved more than five miles (8km) of temporary barriers and 25 pumps to depots and towns along the east coast, while the Chief Fire Officers Association said it had mobilised 15 fire and rescue services to assist in Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Humberside.

"Now we have tried to get in first - to be there alongside the other emergency services and I'm really proud of what our troops are doing today".

The country starts to batten down the hatches as snow strikes Scotland and Northern Ireland.

'Latest forecasting tells us that risk has moved to the next high tide expected just after midnight.

The number of areas where flooding poses a threat to life has been increased to 12 by the Environment Agency.

These conditions could result in large waves and some high water levels around the times of high tide, increasing flood risk to coastal communities.

All east coast flood gates have been closed.

"We are prepared to take action wherever it is needed".