England was braced for the worst coastal flooding in more than 50 years last night, as a three-metre-high “storm surge” moved across the North Sea, putting thousands of homes at risk. The Financial Times, The Times, The Daily Telegraph.

Emergency services were put on high alert, with police on standby in the areas thought to be most at risk, on the east coast. Last night hundreds of people were evacuated.

The prime minister, chaired a meeting in London of the government’s Cobra emergency response committee.

East Anglia was thought likely to be the worst hit, but areas to the north such as the Northumberland coast and Humber estuary and Kent in the south were included in the flood warnings. The Thames and Dartford Creek barriers were both raised.