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Home Maidstone News Article
Families had to be rescued from their homes and roads were closed as Maidstone and west Kent responded to flooding.
Homes in Yalding were being evacuated on Boxing Day afternoon as water levels continued to rise.
The worst flooding seen since 2000 left thousands of homes without power on Christmas Day - and a declared major incident prompted Kent Fire and Rescue Service to abandon its planned strike action.
The emergency services worked throughout the night rescuing families trapped in rising flood waters as more and more areas became submerged by rising water.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service confirmed on Boxing Day morning that 50 people had to be rescued from their homes in Yalding. The operation to evacuate homes started at midday yesterday and carried on until midnight.
Fire crews used boats to get people to safety and the control room has received around 130 calls since 5am on Christmas Day. Four water rescue teams were in operation.
Earlier in the day 80 people had to be rescued from a caravan park in Yalding after at least 2ft of water flooded caravans. Coastguard teams were drafted in.
Maidstone town-centre has been badly affected by flooding and the A229 Fairmeadow is currently closed from the White Rabbit roundabout to the Lower High Street.
After a closure of the bridge system was put in place on Christmas Day, Kent Police announced that this had been lifted by 11.15am on Boxing Day and roads had re-opened.
The earlier closure meant the town had effectively been cut in two.
Water is currently submerging the Lockmeadow car park and this is out of bounds.
While water levels are predicted to reduce on Boxing Day - as no rain is forecast - the big concern is predicted heavy rain on Friday, which could see the levels of flood water rising again.
In other incidents spanning Christmas Eve and Christmas Day:
One family were led to safety after their home in Whitefriars Wharf, Tonbridge, became consumed with water, another family of two adults and a child were rescued from a car trapped in floodwater in Headcorn, Staplehurst and two people were helped from their stranded car in Angel Lane, Tonbridge.
People living in the Wallis Place complex, off Hart Street found their communal gardens and car park under several feet of water. Several cars have been moved by the force of the water.
And 4,869 homes in Kent are still without power after electricity cables were brought down following a night of gale-force winds and torrential rain on Monday.
UK Power Networks staff battled throughout the night to ensure as many homes as possible could have an electricity supply for their Christmas feast.
Despite the floods the Environment Agency revealed that the Leigh flood defence barrier in Tonbridge held back 5.5 million cubic metres of water at peak times on Christmas Eve, from areas further down the Medway.
Kent Police declared a major incident for the ongoing flooding and conditions affecting the county. As a result, Kent Fire and Rescue Service and Kent FBU officials agreed a countywide recall for firefighters who were due to take strike action.
The Environment Agency's Floodline number is 08459 88 11 88
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