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Home Kent News Article
Hundreds of homes across Kent remain at risk of flooding today - despite the calm weather after several stormy days.
As residents survey the damage caused by gale-force winds and the clear-up operation begins, Kent Police warned properties are still under threat because of heavy rain and rising water levels.These are in Yalding, Collier Street, East Peckham, Kingston, Patrixbourne, Elham, Bridge, Littlebourne, Bishopsbourne, Wickhambreaux, Lydd, Eastry, and from Wye to Ashford areas.
The Army was yesterday drafted in to help with flood protection in Kent, with soldiers distributing sandbags and helping families.It came as Kent's roads suffered heavy congestion after gale-force winds of up to 80mph brought down trees and forced police to bring in Operation Stack on the M20.
Meanwhile, UK Power Networks this morning said around 800 homes in Kent are still without power following the storms.
Engineers are continuing to work on restoring supplies in Wrotham, Mereworth, Paddock Wood, Barming and Staplehurst.
Police said surface water flooding has also been causing difficulties on the roads at Lydd, Brasted, Westerham and Sundridge.
The Road of Remembrance in Folkestone was also closed by a landslide.
The Light Dragoons have been in the Canterbury area to help prevent properties being flooded - along with soldiers from 5 Scots and 36 Engineer Regiment working in areas across Kent.
Speaking from Bishopsbourne, Captain Michael Rivington from the 5 Scots regiment said: "We have 12 soldiers in Bishopsbourne, and a total of 100 from Howe Barracks in other villages and on stand-by.
"The river bank here has just broken, and is threatening the houses nearby. We've already created a barrier, and we're hoping to build channels to re-distribute the water.
"In the next 24 hours, the weather could worsen and the defences we've made might not be able to cope. We'll be in and around Canterbury, helping out for at least the next 24 hours.
"We're just the hands that push the sandbags. We're providing reassurance to residents, and hopefully preventing more flooding before it can occur."
Earlier, a Canterbury City Council spokesman said: "As a result of the concern about water levels, we have now had the offer of assistance from the military.
"In order to ensure the fullest protection of people and property, this offer has been accepted.
"People may therefore start seeing soldiers out and about in villages along the Stour and Nailbourne and the section of the Stour through the city.
"Their role is to help with any sandbag placement required and to provide reassurance to the public.
"It should be stressed that at this stage the work of the military is a precautionary measure.
"We are aware people may be concerned at seeing soldiers on the streets, but we want to reassure residents that the weather forecast has improved and the danger of further flooding is manageable by the measures put in place and the resources available."
The council is particularly worried about levels in the Stour and Nailbourne, which are being closely monitored.
Flooding in Bridge is particularly bad after a heavy deluge, with water creeping up to homes lined with sandbags in Brewery Lane.
A sandbag channel was being built to take water across the High Street from Brewery Lane and into the Nailbourne.
Police said non-freight traffic would be diverted at J11 of the M20 as part of Operation Stack, where parts of the motorway are used to queue lorries travelling to the continent.
Severe delays built on the A20 towards Dover because of a large backlog of traffic after the port closed for about four hours until 5am.
There were delays of more than two hours between the Round Hill Tunnel and A2 Jubilee Way as the port operates at reduced capacity.
Fallen trees left all Southeastern services cancelled until about 10am yesterday, when most routes were running again.
The rail operator said it was dealing with at least 12 tree collapses across its network overnight and had urged passengers not to travel until 11am.
Among other roads to suffer disruption because of the weather:
In Greenhithe, more than 20 people were evacuated after the wall of a house collapsed in high winds.
There have also been reports of part of the roof of a block of flats in Sutton Road, Maidstone, being ripped off.
It comes as the third storm to hit Kent this week brought winds of up to 80mph on the coast along with heavy rain and more flooding.
The Highways Agency said it will "continue to monitor wind speeds closely and will reopen the QEII Bridge and Sheppey Crossing as soon as it is safe to do so".
Kent-bound traffic at the Dartford Crossing is being diverted to use the east bore of the Dartford tunnel and Essex-bound traffic to the west bore.
Drivers of vehicles more than 15ft 9in (4.8 metres) are unable to use the east bore, which will be closed in advance of the QEII Bridge.
Drivers travelling between the Isle of Sheppey and the mainland are being diverted via the Kingsferry lifting bridge.
Road users are advised to expect delays at both crossings.
Graham Russell, Highways Agency operations manager for the south east, said: "As a whole our network is coping well considering the current weather conditions and we have been working around the clock to make sure that strategic roads in Kent, and across the rest of the country remain open.
"We have extra resources available to deal with incidents as quickly as possible but we strongly urge everyone planning to travel in Kent to check their route and weather conditions before setting out and to leave extra time for their journeys if travel conditions are poor."
Bosses said there is a particular risk high-sided vehicles, caravans and motorbikes could be blown over.
They said drivers of these types of vehicles should avoid the following roads during the severe weather:
Kent Police urged anyone heading out on the county's roads to stay alert for any potential dangers.
The force advised people to stay away from flooded areas and avoid driving through water if possible. Just 10 to 12 inches of flood water can cause a vehicle to drift, it added.
Supt Andrea Bishop said: "Our officers are continuing to work very closely with partner agencies to ensure resources are available to respond to where they are needed. Where evacuations have been necessary, our officers are remaining in the locality to prevent and detect any criminality.
"Not only are we seeing floods from rising rivers causing difficulties for residents, but motorists should stay alert and drive to the conditions."
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