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People are being advised not to travel to the North Yorkshire coast unless their journey is essential amid forecasts of high winds and continuing rainfall as Storm Babet continues to hit the region.

In Scarborough, Marine Drive was closed today (Friday 20th October) due to overlapping seawater and street furniture being blown around in high winds.

A decision has also been made to cancel this evening’s two shows at Scarborough Spa – the first day of the Northern Soul Weekender and Paul Carrack in Concert – as Spa Road will be closed due to the risk of overtopping.

The cliff lift is also out of action because of the high winds.

Elsewhere in the county, there were concerns of high river levels, flooding and wind damage as Storm Babet crossed the region.

The Environment Agency (EA) has advised of concern of high levels on the Rivers Swale and Ouse. The EA is also closing flood gates to help to protect York and Malton.

Partners in the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum (NYLRF), which brings together councils, emergency services and health organisations, have been responding to incidents and are prepared to support residents affected by the storm over the weekend.

HM Coastguard’s Network Commander said: “We are urging people in the strongest possible terms to stay away from the coast.

“We would encourage people to stay away from the water’s edge – it’s not worth risking your life for ‘that selfie’.

“Keep off groynes, piers, jetties and harbour walls. If you can feel the spray, you’re too close. Stay away from cliffs, as periods of intense rainfall can make cliff edges more vulnerable and likely to collapse, you do not want to be nearby if that happens.

“If you do get into trouble or believe anybody to be in difficulty at the coast or at sea, please call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”

North Yorkshire Council has reiterated that message, emphasising the importance of heeding road closures and warning signage.

The council’s corporate director for environment, Karl Battersby, said: “We are strongly urging people not to travel to the coast unless their journey is essential.

“Anyone who must travel should take extra care, check the weather forecast and tides, under no circumstances drive through flood water and heed any warning signs.

“Do not ignore road closures and do not remove warning signs. They are there to protect you and other members of the public.

“Removing them can put lives at risk. Even if flood water has receded, bridges and other structures may need to be inspected to ensure they are safe before roads can be reopened.”

North Yorkshire Council’s assistant director for environmental services, Michael Leah, added: “We are closely monitoring the situation regarding the former Marine Residence Hotel that was destroyed by fire on Belmont Road in Scarborough earlier this year.

“A number of people are being moved to safety due to concerns regarding the continuing risks relating to high winds and potential debris.

“We are also appealing to people to stop moving the barriers on Belmont and Ramshill roads. Anyone doing so is putting themselves at risk.”

North Yorkshire Council highways crews have already responded to a number of incidents and will be out on the road network today and over the weekend ready to deal with any impact from high winds and rain.

Along with partners, they are set to deploy warning signs, sandbags and pumps, as required.

North Yorkshire Police is reiterating the call for people to keep extra safe during the current damaging winds and heavy rain.

Officers are warning motorists to avoid making any non-essential journeys and to steer clear of flood water and other high-risk areas such as the coast, where waves are posing a danger to vehicles and pedestrians.

Superintendent Rachel Wood said: “Where temporary road closures have been put in place due to flooding or over-topping waves from the sea, it is essential to follow the diversions for the safety of everyone involved.

“If you find yourself stuck in flood water or in any other dangerous situations as a result of the storm, please make sure the emergency services are called by dialling 999.

“Please avoid using 999 for any non-emergency issues to ensure the emergency services can respond as quickly as possible to any serious incidents that may occur.”

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