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Dover Coastguard received a 999 call from a member of the public who spotted the women - with two children aged about six months in pushchairs and a dog - in trouble as they walked along the promenade at Louisa Bay at about 12.30pm.
Their lucky escape came as Kent braced itself for more flooding in the afternoon following the worst tidal surge to hit the county in decades - with waves of up to 20ft hitting the coast at high tide.
The Margate Coastguard Rescue Team found the group sheltering behind a nearby container and guided them to safety in between the crashing waves.
Tony Evans, senior watch manager at Dover Coastguard, said: "With one of the worst tidal surges we've seen in recent years, we would urge members of the public to take extra care along our coastline at this time.
"These types of conditions, with choppy seas and large waves, are likely to be with us for a few days yet, so please don't take risks.
"If you do get into difficulty, or spot someone else in trouble, call 999 straight away and ask for the Coastguard."
Despite the Environment Agency forecasting the most serious tidal surge for 30 years, the east Kent coast appears to have escaped the expected carnage.
"It's about ankle deep inside my house. Carpets are damaged and furniture. The electricity went off briefly around 2am."
Neighbour Ian Ludlow said: "All of the neighbours were up until 2am just keeping an eye on the water. It seemed to surge about an hour or two before the high tide. Although this is bad, that probably saved a few more houses.
"Then after that, about 2am, we could see that it was receding so we all went to bed.
"But in the morning we all found out that it had flooded at the back of the houses, more than it has in the front, so we're without a fridge at the moment.
"No real damage, the bins were upturned, but it's the mess it all leaves. It's just unpleasant."
Five areas were put on the highest level of flood alert, indicating danger to life, after the Environment Agency added the former Pfizer site in Sandwich to the 'at risk' list.
Sandwich faced two other severe warnings, with Medway and Greenhithe also told to expect the worst from the full force of the storm surges.
The additional warnings covered Gravesend, the Discovery Park (formerly Pfizer) site in Sandwich, Denton and Greenhithe in one area and Higham Marshes to Seasalter, but not including Sheerness and Queenborough in the other.
The Medway Tunnel reopened at about 4am Friday following an earlier closure at midnight due to the alerts and the flood barrier at Canal Road in Strood, has also reopened, although the wall was breached last night.
Over-flowing drains also caused some flooding at the Star Hill end of Corporation Street, Rochester.
A spokesman said: "A door-to-door evacuation is taking place. If you are not informed that you need to evacuate, then there is no need to do so at this stage.
"If you are asked to evacuate, please ensure your property is secure, including switching off any gas and electricity supply. Please take any necessary items with you, including medication."
Canterbury City Council spokesman Celia Glynn-Williams said: "Because of the potential danger from flooding in the area, residents in the Faversham Road area of Seasalter are currently being strongly advised to evacuate their homes to stay with relations or friends where possible."
Emergency rest centres had also been arranged by the council for all residents who have been forced to leave their homes.
The council warned people to evacuate their homes only if they have been advised to, and to take all necessary items including important medication with them.
They are also told to inform family and friend of where they are staying.
If they choose to remain at home, they are advised to move themselves, their pets, small valuables and food and drink supplies to the first floor, if possible.
The authority also closed the flood-gates in Herne Bay and put out sandbags to prepare for surges expected during the high tide in the early hours of the morning and again in the afternoon.
In Medway, the floodgates at Canal Road in Strood were closed, with drivers urged to remove their cars if possible.
Extra sandbags were bought by the council to add to its existing stock.
Robin Cooper, Medway Council's director of regeneration, community and culture, said: "We have a well-rehearsed emergency plan and we are working with all the agencies concerned and the emergency services to ensure the residents of Medway are safe.
He said any communities affected would be kept up to date with developments.
In Gravesend, floodgates have been closed but the council says if anything does happen, Royal Pier Road would most likely be affected as the area does not have a floodgate.
Gravesham council has sacks ready for those homes that could be affected and the Port of London Authority has slowed ships travelling along the Thames past the town.
The Environment Agency is working with police, councils and the fire and rescue service to warn firms and residents of the risks.
Motorists are being advised not to attempt to drive through flooded roads and people are also advised to avoid coastal and river paths.
People are being urged to only call 999 if life is in danger, or if there is an ongoing emergency.
Andrew Pearce, the Environment Agency's area manager for Kent, said: "Those who live or work in affected areas should keep up to date on local travel advice through radio and TV.
"Coastal paths and promenades could be highly dangerous as there is an increased risk of being swept out to sea. People are warned to stay away from the shoreline."
Among those who moved valuables upstairs in preparation for the flooding was 57-year-old Peter Birchfield from Sandwich.
He said: "I've been moving all of my furniture upstairs, and we're going out to buy some wood in a minute and block up all our front and back doors. We've even moved our freezers upstairs!"
Heather Lemoine, 66, said she was trying to move as much as she could upstairs.
She added:"I'm trying to check out what's going on with the sandbags, and to find out how to get some more sandbags from somewhere.
"I've packed a bag ready to move up to some friends' that are on the other side of town away from the river."
A statement on the Environment Agency's website said high tides were expected just after midnight and 1pm today.
It continued: "High spring tides, combined with a prolonged surge, mean that water levels are forecast to be very high, and are likely to overtop some flood defences in the area.
"This poses a significant risk for both high tides on Friday. This Severe Flood Warning is being issued now to allow time for necessary precautions to be taken."
There are also flood warnings and flood alerts in place for the rest of the coast.
Environment Agency chiefs are predicting some 1,300 to 1,400 homes across the coast of Kent are at risk.
Local British Red Cross volunteers and staff are preparing to take part in any emergency response.
Dr Paul Leinster, Environment Agency chief executive, said: "Gale force winds and large waves along the east coast of England are forecast during Thursday and Friday, coinciding with high tides and a significant coastal surge.
"Flooding of some coastal communities is expected and some defences could be overtopped by the combined effect of high tides, high winds and a tidal surge.
"Coastal paths and promenades will be highly dangerous as there is an increased risk of people being swept out to sea.
"The Environment Agency is monitoring the situation closely, working alongside partners including the emergency services, Met Office and local authorities.
"Environment Agency teams are out on the ground checking that flood defences and barriers are in good working order, monitoring sea levels and issuing flood warnings.
"People should check the Environment Agency website or follow @EnvAgency and #floodaware on Twitter for the latest flood outlook, and to sign up to receive free flood warnings."
Meanwhile, the Port of Dover has been preparing for the worst of the expected tidal surge.
Staff have conducted a full-scale inspection of the area to assess any potential trouble spots.
A spokesman said: "The safety of customers, staff and the local community is paramount and the port will be taking the appropriate action to mitigate the effects of the weather as far as possible."
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