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Storm Eleanor in Kent: Strong winds and heavy rain cause travel disruption

By KentOnline reporter

Trees have been blown down, homes were left without power and flood alerts are in place as Storm Eleanor hits Kent.

Heavy rain and gusts of up to 60mph battered Kent overnight and throughout today, with blustery conditions expected to continue into this evening.

The storm toppled a tree in Deal this morning, smashing the back window of a car in Southwall Road.

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The car's back window was smashed
The car's back window was smashed

The car's owner Yvonne Dunkley said: "A workman knocked on my door at 7.45am and said 'I've got bad news for you. A tree has fallen and hit your car'.

"The tree was all over it."

Kent County Council Highways teams were called to saw up the tree and clear the road, which was closed for several hours.

The tree was blown down by strong winds, hitting a car windscreen
The tree was blown down by strong winds, hitting a car windscreen

Elsewhere, one of the Dartford tunnels was shut this morning in preparation for the potential closure of the QEII bridge, but has since reopened. Long delays remained throughout the rush hour.

Highways crews said they dealt with a "large number" of fallen trees across the county overnight, while UK Power Networks said homes were without power - including 200 in New Romney.

Meanwhile, fire crews received calls about flooding in Gillingham, thought to have been caused by heavy rain blocking drains.

A large number of trees have come down. Picture: @kentpoliceton.
A large number of trees have come down. Picture: @kentpoliceton.

The Environment Agency issued a flood alert from 1.15pm, affecting the coast from Kemsley to Seasalter, as high tides, strong winds and large waves raise water levels.

People in these areas were warned to be prepared for minor flooding, particularly along Faversham Creek - although no properties are expected to be affected.

Another alert was in place along the coast and tidal areas from Sandgate to Lydd, including Hythe, Dymchurch, St Marys Bay, Littlestone, Greatstone, New Romney and communities on the Romney Marsh up to the Royal Military Canal. It came into force at around 11.40am.

Tilbury Ferry, which runs services between Gravesend and Tilbury, tweeted at 9am: "We are monitoring the situation with regards to the wind. We expect some crossing cancellations between 1000 and 1400."

There are delays of up to an hour on DFDS Seaways between Dover and Dunkirk due to the weather conditions. Dover Coastguard says gusts reached almost 60mph overnight.

A toppled tree in Washford Farm Road, Ashford. Picture: Jim Park.
A toppled tree in Washford Farm Road, Ashford. Picture: Jim Park.

Strong winds are expected to continue, with a yellow "be aware" warning in place until 7pm.

A Met Office spokesman said this morning: "Strong winds will continue through much of today.

"Storm Eleanor is now over the North Sea and although winds are not expected to be as strong as during Tuesday evening and last night, it has left a swathe of strong winds in its wake.

"Some delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport are expected with some journeys taking longer.

"Delays for high-sided vehicles on exposed routes and bridges are also possible, and there is also the potential for some short term loss of power supplies."

Strong winds and large waves at Folkestone harbour. Library image.
Strong winds and large waves at Folkestone harbour. Library image.

A Highways England spokesman said: "Drivers planning to travel are encouraged to plan their journey in advance and check the latest weather and traffic conditions along the route.

"Drivers making journeys across the region should be aware of sudden gusts of wind, and give high sided vehicles, caravans, motorbikes and bicycles plenty of space."

Follow our live blog here and listen to kmfm for news, travel and weather updates throughout the day.

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