THE stormy end to 2013 is set to become an equally stormy start to 2014 and emergency services and agencies across Sussex are warning people to take care.
More rain is forecast, adding not only to swollen rivers, but also rising ground water and existing flooded areas. Winds of up to 65mph along the coast, combined with high tides and low pressure, are likely to create storm surges and a large number of flood alerts are in place all along the Sussex coast and further inland.
Inspector Andy Kundert, Sussex Police’s emergency planning officer, said: “We’re set for another very stormy period and in addition to the usual hazards out on the roads of Sussex, there’s potential for coastal and inland flooding around high tide times around lunchtime and midnight on Friday (January 3).
“Be prepared for hazards on the road when you are driving, not least fallen trees and stretches of floodwater. Don’t assume that the road is clear around the next corner - it may not be!
“If you are unfortunate enough to lose your power, please be careful in making other arrangements. Be aware of the dangers of naked flames or portable cooking equipment and make sure that anything that burns fuel, such as camping stoves or generators, is well ventilated so that poisonous fumes don’t build up indoors.
“If you’re tempted out to see Mother Nature at her most ferocious, please be really careful, especially near the sea. Enormous amounts of shingle have been washed away over the past few weeks, increasing the hazards with the sea encroaching much further up the beaches and literally tons of water crashing in with each wave. Please do not be tempted to swim or even paddle.
“As always, we would ask that you look out for your neighbours and other people in your community, especially if they may be vulnerable and particularly if there is a power cut, flooding or other difficulties in your area. Keep listening to your local radio stations for up-to-date weather and travel advice and if you are out and about, keep safe.
“All the emergency services, local authorities and other agencies will be working to make sure the county is as safe as possible.”
You can check for flood alerts on the Environment Agency’s website at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/31618.aspx, on Twitter at @EnvAgencySE and on Facebook. A useful advice brochure for people expecting or dealing with flooding is available from http://www.hpa.org.uk/webc/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1317140405287.