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Tidal surge hits eastern England

A tidal surge has hit England's east coast, causing overtopping of flood defences in Norfolk.

Thousands of people were evacuated from the coast of East Anglia yesterday after the Environment Agency warned of "extreme danger to life and property" from flooding, issuing severe flood warnings in eight of its regions.

Environment minister Hilary Benn had told parliament of potential serious flooding risk on the east coast between Thursday and Saturday due to a "tidal surge" working its way down the North Sea.

However, the impact of the surge looks to be less serious than first feared.

The high point of the surge hit Norfolk around 8am, breaching defences and flooding roads in some areas, but there was no damage on the scale feared.

But the freak rise in water level is not expected to hit the Lincolnshire coast until later this afternoon, and residents are being urged to take care if walking near the sea.

The Thames Barrier had been raised to protect against the surge making its way into London, but has subsequently been lowered.

The surge was attributed by the Met Office to a combination of north-westerly winds exceeding 80km/h, low pressure and high tides.

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