SOUTH Tynesiders have been urged to take extra care today and tomorrow after weather and flood warnings from the Met Office and Environment Agency.
They are warning that gale-force winds, large waves and a tidal surge caused by low pressure will combine with high tides today, throughout tomorrow and into Saturday morning, bringing a risk of significant coastal flooding.
A South Tyneside Council spokesman said: “This will make the coastline significantly more dangerous than usual, and residents and visitors are advised to stay away from coastal and riverside areas and avoid coastal paths, promenades, beaches and the pier area.”
The strong winds are already causing disruption across the region, and householders are recommended to ensure that any Christmas trees and festive decorations in their gardens are secure.
John Curtin, the Environment Agency’s head of incident management, said: “Flooding of coastal communities along the eastern and north-west coasts is expected today and into Friday.
“Some defences could be overtopped by the combined effect of high tides, high winds and a large tidal surge.
“Our teams have been out in force checking that flood defences and barriers are in good working order, monitoring sea levels and issuing flood warnings.
“Coastal paths and promenades will be highly dangerous as there is an increased risk of people being swept out to sea.”
Latest flood alert information is available at www.environment-agency.gov.uk -or by calling Floodline on 0845 988 1188.
Weather updates are available on the Met Office website at www.metoffice.gov.uk.