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VIDEO - Morecambe Bay flood warnings: High tides sweep across Lancashire coast

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Morecambe Bay appeared to have got off lightly today amid warnings of coastal flooding along the Lancashire and Cumbria coastline.

The Environment Agency has issued a series of alerts, meaning flooding is possible, and warnings, meaning flooding is expected, as high lunchtime tides combined with strong winds.

But although large waves lashed shorelines, the disruption was not as bad and much less dramatic than December 5, when cars were swept into the sea.

And the winds were much less fierce than the storm four weeks ago.

Today in Morecambe and Heysham, waves crashed onto the front, soaking bystanders who got too close.

Motorists rescued their cars in Milnthorpe as a 10.6m high tide at Arnside pushed back the River Bela.

The main road between Arnside and Milnthorpe next to the estuary is flooded and drivers have been told to not drive through flood water.

Marine Drive in Morecambe was closed between VVV Health and Leisure Club and Princes Crescent and Conder Green in Lancaster was also affected.

Authorities have urged people to stay away from the sea over the coming days.

Waves topped exposed locations and promenades and homes and businesses on low-level land have been told they could be affected.

Flood warnings had been issued for Halton to Skerton Weir, promenades and roads around Marine Road Central in Morecambe and the stone jetty, the coastal road along the seafront in Hest Bank and Sunderland Point.

The Environment Agency said the lunchtime high tide was of “most concern” and homes along Coastal Road, Hest Bank, and Shorefield Caravan Park at Sunderland Point were “at greatest risk of flooding.”

But, again, so far in these areas, no major flooding issues have been reported.

Flood alerts are in place for the entire Morecambe Bay coast, including from Heysham to Cockerham and Heysham to Carnforth, plus the River Lune Estuary.

South Lakeland District Council had warned the flooding in the Cumbria area could have be on a scale not seen since 2002 when shops and homes in Arnside and Sandside were hit.

The authority handed out around 500 sandbags and thanked the public for its “vigilant response” to the flood threat.

A spokesman said: “Fortunately the worst fears did not materialise and the impact on most residential properties and businesses was minimised.

“However the Environment Agency stressed that people should remain vigilant for the rest of the weekend although the highest risk is now said to have passed.

Nick Pearson, SLDC Street Scene Manager, said: “Thanks to the warnings sent out most people were well prepared. Many residents living in coastal areas are used to dealing with the ever-present threat from the high tides.”Police have told people to stay away from harbours and promenades for their own safety.

Workers have been seen sealing off St George’s Quay in Lancaster in readiness for the high water levels.

People can get sandbags from South Lakeland District Council at Storth Village Hall, near Milnthorpe, and Arnside Village Hall.

The Environment Agency stressed the times varied along the coast and that the flood risk applied up to four hours either side of high tides, which were been 12.24pm and 1.20pm from Morecambe to Arnside.

A spokesman said teams would be working around the clock to check flood defences and that further flood alerts were likely to be issued.

Meanwhile, the Met Office has issued a yellow level weather alert for wind in Lancashire and Cumbria on Friday with 60mph gusts possible.

Rain is also expected.

Craig Woolhouse, the Environment Agency’s head of flood incident management, said: “Strong winds and large waves along the west and south coasts of England are forecast between Friday and Sunday, coinciding with high tides.

“Impacts could include flooding affecting some coastal properties and communities. Coastal paths and promenades could be highly dangerous as there is an increased risk of being swept out to sea. People are warned to stay away from the shoreline.”

High river levels and saturated ground are increasing the flood risk in the north west.

There is a flood warning in place along parts of the Cumbrian coast, meaning flooding is expected and immediate action, such as sand-bagging doors or evacuating, is required.

The A66 between Penrith and Durham has been closed to high-sided vehicles and drivers who parked at Canal Foot, at Ulverston in Cumbria, were told to remove their vehicles as the area flooded.

At Barrow-in-Furness, residents at Earnse Bay Caravan Park were evacuated.

A Cumbria County Council spokesman said: “The county and district councils are working in partnership and have contingency plans in place and staff on standby to provide immediate support to affected communities if required.

“Our highways teams are also geared up to support the emergency response and will be on hand to assist the police with road closures and diversions should they be needed.

“We’d encourage motorists to be aware of the conditions, give themselves extra time if they have to travel in coastal areas and check their route before setting off.

“People living in areas at risk of flooding are advised to keep a flood kit ready including a torch, batteries, fully charged mobile phone, warm clothing, water, food and any prescription medicines you may need and to make sure elderly and vulnerable friends, neighbours and family are aware of the situation.”

Mr Woolhouse added: “The Environment Agency is monitoring the situation closely, working alongside partners including the Met Office and local authorities.

“Environment Agency teams are out on the ground making sure that flood defences are in good working order, monitoring sea levels and preparing to issue flood alerts and warnings.

“People should check the Environment Agency website or follow @EnvAgency and #floodaware on Twitter for the latest flood outlook, and sign up to receive free flood warnings.”

A Met Office spokesman said: “Another spell of unsettled weather is expected on Friday with further wet and windy conditions likely across western areas in particular.

“Tides will be very high, and the public should be aware of the risks of large waves and coastal flooding.”

Prime Minister David Cameron said a meeting of the Government’s COBRA committee would take place this morning, writing on Twitter: “I‘m ensuring that all is being done to help with the floods”.

 

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