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Aftermath of snow in Kent impacts water supplies, train services, roads and wildlife

By Ellis Stephenson

The snow may have melted and the ice thawed, but Kent is still feeling the effects of last week's cold snap.

As the county recovers from four days of heavy flurries and icy conditions, train services, water supplies and road conditions continue to suffer.

Wildlife has also been affected, with thousands of starfish washing up on Kent's beaches and farmers facing challenges with lambing season.

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Umbrellas needed on the windswept seafront at Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey. Picture: Julius Matikas

Thousands have been left without water after a sudden rise in temperature over the weekend caused pipes to crack and burst.

Some children who had already enjoyed "snow days" last week are again missing lessons as schools are forced to remain shut.

Travel disruption also continues following last week's chaos. Train journeys have largely returned to normal - but some Southeastern services are running with fewer carriages.

Many trains were disrupted. Stock picture

In a joint statement with Network Rail, the company said engineers are doing everything they can to repair damage caused by snow and ice.

On the roads, potholes have been developing - with deep craters reported on the A2 between Canterbury and Faversham.

A spokesman for Kent County Council (KCC), which maintains most of the roads in the county, explained: "Water goes into the ground and freezes which subsequently expands, and cracks the road.

Thousands of homes are still without water

"KCC will be undertaking a full carriageway inspection identifying essential safety repairs first prioritising the strategic road network.

"KCC has in excess of £2 million available to deal with the immediate repairs and can draw down on Highways budgets to ensure the safety of road users and address safety repairs as necessary."

Wildlife has also been hit hard, with starfish, crabs and lobsters washing up on Thanet's beaches.

Kent County Council is assessing the damage to roads

The Marine Conservation Society says marine life in shallow waters has been affected by the conditions.

Head of communications, Richard Harrington, said: "The extreme cold that we've had for a number of days and the stormy weather has brought a lot of marine life to the surface.

"It's concerning because it's on such a large scale.

Thousands of starfish washed up at Dumpton Gap in Broadstairs. Picture: Natasha Bizarra.

"Marine life does tend to do this in stormy conditions. We expect marine life to bounce back."

The farming industry has also been affected by the plunging temperatures.

Kent advisor for the National Farmers' Union, Amanda Corp, said: "The dairies aren't built for temperatures below zero.

"They're managing to keep doing it and keep the milk flowing but they're having difficulties with lorries getting to them."

Lambing season is usually in full swing by now, but farmers don't usually face such extreme conditions in March.

Alan West, agriculture lecturer at Hadlow College, said that while sheep are resilient, the weather has presented challenges tending to the animals and ensuring they have access to water and grass to feed on.

He explained: "At the college, where we'd normally turn out a few days after lambing, this year we've had to keep everything inside.

"It's generated a few problems with space. But we've managed to keep everything under cover."

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