High tides hit Suffolk coast

FLOODGATES near homes were left open as higher-than-expected tides caught out the experts and caused a trail of damage on Felixstowe seafront.The first big tides of the season flooded gardens, smashed beach huts and left the prom damaged and covered with sand and shingle.

FLOODGATES near homes were left open as higher-than-expected tides caught out the experts and caused a trail of damage on Felixstowe seafront.

The first big tides of the season flooded gardens, smashed beach huts and left the prom damaged and covered with sand and shingle.

But residents were furious that they were given no warning of the predicted storm surge – and floodgates were not closed.

Suffolk Coastal council said the Environment Agency had issued a Floodwatch but not a Flood Warning, which would have required the gates to be closed.


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The prediction was a tide 0.86 metres above normal, but it turned out to be 1.32 metres higher – nearly two feet more – as it was whipped up by high winds.

The Environment Agency said it had been an "uncommon event".

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Further up the coast, expensive beach huts at Southwold were ripped from their foundations, and at Dingle Marshes, between Dunwich and Walberswick, an 800-metre stretch of shingle bank was breached and marshland flooded.

In Felixstowe, Beach huts were shifted by the high tide and smashed together, with more than a dozen damaged between Sea Road and Manor End.

Waves lifted a large section of concrete prom opposite the Herman de Stern, and among the areas sea water reached was the resort's south seafront, which is earmarked for homes.

Council workers immediately launched a clean-up operation, with machines brought in to sweep the sand and shingle off the prom.

One team, equipped with a digger, plus hand shovels and brooms, took on the task of freeing the floodgate which was left open at Manor Terrace so that it could be closed next time in an emergency.

Gardens opposite the funfair in Sea Road suffered some flooding, and beach huts were moved around and into the car park inside the sea wall.

Edwina Rust, of Manor Terrace, said: "We could not believe it – they left a floodgate open just yards from our homes and no warning was given at all.

"The water came onto the south seafront site onto the land which for years has acted as a soakaway, and today is draining away like it has many times before."

A Suffolk Coastal spokesman said: "We are carrying out a clear up operation but all the damage is on the seaward side of the flood wall.

"Some floodgates were open because we were advised that the tides which were expected would be some two feet less than they actually were."

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