Highest level of warnings indicates danger to life and property

The Environment Agency has issued 10 severe flood warnings for the south-west coast as strong winds will combine with high tides and large waves in the early hours of tomorrow.

Severe flood warnings are the highest category of warning, and indicate a danger to life and property.

The flood risk will extend along the UK coastline from north-west England, through Wales and south-west and southern England. Areas particularly at risk include the Isles of Scilly, the north and south coasts of Devon and Cornwall, Dorset and the coastline of Wales.

Recent heavy rain, saturated ground and high river levels mean that there is also a continued risk of river and surface water flooding across the country as unsettled conditions are forecast to continue.

Environment Agency head of strategy Pete Fox said: “We are expecting flooding along the west and south coasts of England and Wales, because of a combination of strong winds, large waves and high tides, from the early hours of Friday and into the weekend.

“Coastal paths and promenades could be highly dangerous as there is an increased risk of [people] being swept out to sea. People are warned to stay away from the shoreline.

“The Environment Agency is monitoring the situation closely, working alongside partners including the Met Office and local authorities. Environment Agency teams are out on the ground making sure that flood defences are in good working order, monitoring sea levels and preparing to issue flood alerts and warnings.”

Before today, the Environment Agency had issued three severe flood warnings since storms began on 23 December.