East Anglia is on red alert for a storm surge that could bring the worst flooding in a more than 30 years to the Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex coast - although it is unlikely it will be as severe as the storm surge of 1953.

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There are now 24 severe flood warnings and 44 flood warnings in place along the coastline, with areas further inland also under threat.

The reason the flooding might be severe is because of combination of wind speed and direction, and high tides.

A storm surge is an offshore rise of water associated which is linked to a low pressure weather system. Storm surges are caused primarily by high winds pushing on the sea’s surface.

The wind causes the water to pile up higher than the ordinary sea level. It is this combined effect of low pressure and persistent wind over a shallow seas which creates the biggest threat of flooding.

The Environment Agency said it is expecting wind speed at force eight, around 45mph.

While Weatherquest in Norwich predicts gusts of up to 55mph.

A Weatherquest spokesman said westerly winds would keep the tides down to some degree but “as they turn north-westerly there might be a bit of surge coming down the North Sea”.

The Environment Agency is expecting the high waters to work its way south between 7.30pm Thursday and 2.15am Friday and then again on Friday from 7.45am to 2.45pm.

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