FLOODS: Warning issued to stay away from Littlehampton coast

High tide at the Arun View, in Littlehampton, last night. PHOTO: Lee Harrison, deputy harbour master
High tide at the Arun View, in Littlehampton, last night. PHOTO: Lee Harrison, deputy harbour master

LITTLEHAMPTON’S harbour master has warned people to stay away from the river and coastal areas today (Friday, January 3) as tidal flooding looks set to hit the town.

The advice comes after the Environment Agency upgraded its flood alert for Ropewalk, Littlehampton, to the higher level, flood warning, this morning.

Harbour master Billy Johnson said: “People should stay away from exposed coastlines, the pier, West Beach, and west works during such events.

“Boat-owners should also check their vessels, when it is safe to do so, after such an event.”

The high tide is predicted to hit Littlehampton shortly after midday and then again at midnight.

Further rain is being forecast, adding not only to swollen rivers, but also rising ground water and existing flooded areas.

Winds of up to 65 miles per hour 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.

Mr Johnson added: “There’s really not much that we can do.

“It’s a matter of sitting it out. The tide will come up and we don’t know how much it will come up by.

“The tide has been predicted to hit 6.3m but we expect the actually figure could potentially be more like 7m.”

Mr Johnson said the normal tidal figure for this time of year is about 5.9m.

Sussex Police has also issued its own set of warning to residents and motorists.

Inspector Andy Kundert, Sussex Police’s emergency planning officer, said: “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.”

He added that people should also lookout for neighbours and vulnerable people in their community, particularly if there is a power cut, flooding or other difficulties.

“All the emergency services, local authorities and other agencies will be working to make sure the county is as safe as possible,” he said.

For up-to-date information on flood warnings, see the Environment Agency’s website, {http:// www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/31618.aspx| here}.

Alternatively, see the agency’s Twitter account, at @EnvAgencySE and

A useful advice brochure for people expecting or dealing with flooding is available here.