Britain battered by snow and life-threatening floods

Warnings of life-threatening floods are in place along the east coast as Britain is battered by heavy rain, high winds and snow.

Britain is on weather alert as people prepare for the worst, with warnings of floods, wind, snow and ice covering vast swathes of the UK.

Lives could be at risk as severe flood warnings are in place for parts of the east coast with residents urged to evacuate from their homes.

Elsewhere, the Met Office has issued severe weather warnings across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for combinations of high winds, snow and ice.

The Environment Agency's seven severe flood warnings - which warn of a danger to life - are in place for Friday lunchtime in coastal areas of Essex and Suffolk in the face of gale-force winds and high tides, while dozens of flood warnings have been imposed as the east coast braces itself for a storm surge.

The warnings take in Clacton to Lee Wick, West Mersea, The Strood and adjacent marshland, and Tidal River Stour at Mistley, including the Quay and The Walls, all in Essex.

Coastal communities in Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex have been told they should be prepared for large waves and possible flooding.

Emergency services were putting an evacuation plan into action in Jaywick, near Clacton-on-Sea, with police officers going door-to-door informing residents of the evacuation, which is beginning at 7am on Friday.

The Ministry of Defence said about 100 soldiers from the Catterick army base have been deployed to Skegness on the Lincolnshire coast where about 3,000 residents have been urged to leave their homes or move upstairs.

Suffolk Police said specific areas of the coast had been identified as being at high risk of flooding - taking in around 1,100 properties which are likely to be evacuated.

At around midday on Friday, the Environment Agency is anticipating severe flooding in Felixstowe Ferry and Bawdsey Quay, Felixstowe Ferry Hamlet and the Deben Marshes, isolated riverside properties on the Deben Estuary, and Tidal Orwell at Ipswich Quay.

At around 9pm there is severe flooding anticipated in Lowestoft seafront and docks, the north bank of Lake Lothing, Oulton Broad near Mutford Lock, Snape, Iken and surrounding marshland, and Southwold and surrounding marshes.

Winter weather Jan 12th 2017

Norfolk Police has said floods are a strong possibility in the region, and the force is anticipating the worst to be in Yarmouth, Walcott, King's Lynn, Salthouse and Wells, between 7am and 10am, and 8pm to 10pm on Friday.

Mark Sitton-Kent, national duty manager at the Environment Agency, said: "Gale-force winds and high tides are likely to create large and dangerous waves along parts of the east coast on Friday and Saturday.

"These conditions could also cause flooding to coastal roads and could impact properties.

"We understand that powerful tides can be dramatic, but please do not put yourself at unnecessary risk by going to the coast for a thrill or to take pictures. Please do not drive through flood water: just 30cm of flowing water is enough to move your car.

"We are prepared to take action wherever it is needed. We have moved resources and equipment to the coast and the Army is on standby to assist if needed."

Tidal gates on the east coast have been closed ahead of the high tides.

On Thursday, driving snow and high winds hit large parts of the country, disrupting travel and closing schools.

Winter weather Jan 12th 2017

Heavy snow was lying across Scotland, Northern Ireland and parts of England.

Floods minister Therese Coffey said: "Our absolute priority is protecting lives, homes and businesses from the threat of coastal flooding currently facing the east coast.

"That is why we have soldiers on the ground helping to warn and evacuate people alongside the emergency services and Environment Agency teams, who are putting up temporary defences.

"We're working closely across government to monitor the situation as it develops and I ask people to check their flood risk, keep a close eye on updates and follow any advice from the Environment Agency and the emergency services."

There are fears that the weather conditions may also badly affect Tube and train services.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said: "A combination of staffing and maintenance cuts means that rail and Tube services are running on a knife edge at the best of times.

"Any adverse weather conditions are almost guaranteed to tip us over that edge."

Britain in the snow winter 2015/2016
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Britain in the snow winter 2015/2016
The River Esk meanders through a snow-covered valley on January 15, 2016.
January 15 2016: A wild horse on Black Mountain.
Snow blankets the countryside in the Peak District near Buxton on January 14, 2016.
Wild horses play in the snow on Black Mountain on January 15, 2016 near Belfast.
A lone sheep in in England's first national park, Castleton, Derbyshire, UK, 14th January 2016. 
Snow and ice cover flowers in Camberwell Old Cemetery, London.
Walkers appear antlike as they climb South Wales' highest mountain, Pen y Fan, in the Brecon Beacons National Park.
Amulree and Strathbraan Parish Church in Perthshire, Scotland, Jan 15th 2016.
Fresh snow coats trees on the South Downs on January 17, 2016 in Haslemere, West Sussex
Members of the public look out over the City of London from One Tree Hill in south London.
A chilly dog in Wales, January 16 2016.
Winter returns with snow at Nenthead on the Cumbria and Northumberland border today after Storm Imogen battered Britain with hurricane-force winds reaching speeds of almost 100mph.
 Bradgate Park, Leicestershire, England.

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