Mop-up begins after freakish sea surge in wake of storms

Storms have brought havoc today
Storms have brought havoc today
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Thousands of people were returning to their homes today after the most serious tidal surge in 60 years hit the east coast of Britain.

The sea swelled and spilled over into coastal towns, forcing homes and businesses to be evacuated, after a day of strong winds that pummeled the entire county.

Storms have brought havoc today

Storms have brought havoc today

Scarborough seafront was described as like a “scene from the Titanic” as the Golden Mile was submerged and arcades and cafes were flooded along the South Bay.

It was estimated the tide was 20ft higher than normal when it finally peaked around 5.20pm.

Surveying the damage, former mayor Janet Jefferson said: “This is a disaster for the seafront properties which have been hit.

“I have lived here for 30 years and I have never seen anything like it.”

Storms have brought havoc today

Storms have brought havoc today

Mother Gill Smith, fleeing the seafront with her daughter, said: “We came down to see the sea and got a scene from Titanic.”

Showers of sparks were seen as the water shorted out electric mains and at least one electrical fire was put out in a property.

There was a similar picture in Whitby, where water flooded New Quay Road, Pier Road and Church Street and seeped into electricity substations, plunging much of the town into darkness as an 
estimated 200 properties were flooded.

The blackout compounded earlier power cuts caused by the strong winds, which had affected around 100,000 properties in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and the north east.

Storms have brought havoc today

Storms have brought havoc today

The water had subsided significantly last night but the town - like others across the region -
was braced for another battering from this morning’s high tides 
from around 6am.

North Yorkshire Police superintendent and emergency response team co-ordinator Glyn Payne said: “Touch wood, it has not been as bad as it could have been but we are only half way through.

“We have still got the morning but the prediction is that it is not going to be as high.”

A search was mounted for three people believed to have been swept into the Humber at Flixborough, near Scunthorpe, but they were later found safe and well.

Storms have brought havoc today

Storms have brought havoc today

A number of homes had to be evacuated in Hull, including flats at Alexandra Dock, while 150 homes were at risk in the village of Paull, to the east of the city.

More properties were evacuated at places including Kilnsea, near Spurn Point, where there were reports of cars floating down roads, and people were also urged to leave areas from Hessle Haven to the Humber Bridge and Blacktoft.

Residents in parts of Grimsby, Cleethorpes, Gunness and Burringham, were also packing their bags last night.

The tidal surge followed gale force winds that earlier caused widespread damage and disruption across Yorkshire.

The strongest gusts were recorded in High Bradfield, South Yorkshire, where they reached 83mph.

Pupils had a lucky escape when part of the roof blew off Hayfield School in Auckley, Doncaster, at lunchtime.

Storms have brought havoc today

Storms have brought havoc today

Firefighters used thermal imaging equipment and viewed the school’s CCTV footage to make sure no children were trapped, but fortunately no one was injured.

Pupil Ruby Warnock tweeted: “That was the scariest experience ever – I really almost died 
today.”

Barnsley District Hospital suffered a power cut in the morning that was blamed on the severe weather. After several hours 
using a generator the power was restored at around 1pm.

Around the region, lorries being overturned by the high winds and a higher-than-normal number of accidents caused hours of delays on motorways and major roads.

Several parts of the M1, A1 and M62 were closed at various points of the day for incidents to be cleared and to prevent accidents.

The gales also grounded a number of flights and caused delays to others at Leeds Bradford Airport. Rail passengers also faced disruption.

The line between Doncaster and Leeds had be closed owing to damage to Doncaster station’s roof while the Whitby to Middlesborough line was also shut due to a fallen tree at Ruswarp.

Normal services were expected to resume on most routes today.

The scene on Scarborough seafront. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

The scene on Scarborough seafront. Picture: Tony Bartholomew