SEE VIDEO: Woman taken off barge as surge hits West Norfolk

A woman was rescued from a barge by fire crews this evening, Thursday December 5, as West Norfolk was battered by strong winds and high tides.

Police say the woman was on a vessel moored close to the South Quay and was shouting for assistance.

Lynn's flood defences hold - but only just. The South Quay looking from Marriott's Warehouse towards the Boal Quay.

Lynn's flood defences hold - but only just. The South Quay looking from Marriott's Warehouse towards the Boal Quay.

A rescue boat was despatched as it was felt to be unsafe for her to remain on board, but a spokesman stressed she had not been in the water at any point.

Elsewhere, the Purfleet bridge in Lynn will be closed until further notice because of the impact of the surge. The river bridge on Lynn Road, St Germans has also been shut.

And concerns have been raised via social media over the safety of animals at the Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary because of the level of the waters there. Flooding has also been reported at the National Trust activity centre at Brancaster.

Flood waters in Lynn broke through onto the quay side shortly before 7pm. At its peak, the water was thought to be several feet deep on the riverside.

However, the town’s flood barriers, which had been closed late this afternoon by Environment Agency workers, largely withstood the onslaught, though several roads were cordoned off in the area.

Police have visited around 500 homes in the Lynn area and a similar number on the north Norfolk coast. A rest centre set up at the Hunstanton Community Centre remains open.

Flood warnings remain in force tonight in the Heacham area, where homes and caravan parks are thought to be at risk, and around Burnham Overy Staithe and Thornham. There is also concern about the possibility of further flooding around the high tide tomorrow morning.

Norfolk Police’s deputy chief constable Charlie Hall said: “Staff from all agencies will continue to work together throughout the night to provide reassurance and support to the local community. Police officers, staff and special constables will patrol affected areas overnight.

“The message to residents remains the same to listen to expert advice and not return to properties if you have been asked to evacuate.

“We understand people may be anxious, maybe even unsure, about following such guidance. However, we would like to stress to residents that such disruptions are absolutely necessary. We need to ensure the safety of everyone involved.”