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Kent's flooding woes could last until May as saturated chalk ground around the Stour struggle to dry out, according to Environment Agency

13 February 2014
by KentOnline reporter

Parts of Kent could still be at risk of flooding in May as the saturated ground takes months to dry, experts have warned.

It comes as towns and villages in parts of the county brace themselves for more flooding as another storm is set to hit tomorrow - with the Met Office predicting between 10mm and 20mm of rainfall.

More than a month's worth of rain is expected to have fallen in Kent by the end of this week, leaving the ground saturated and river levels swollen for nearly a third month.

Workers battle to protect houses in Patrixbourne from flooding last week

Workers battle to protect houses in Patrixbourne from flooding

Mark Douch, the Environment Agency’s flood and coastal risk manager, said it will take Kent a large part of 2014 to fully recover from another wet month.

He said: “You are looking at a period of months, especially for the areas of Kent that have chalk-based catchments.

"It could take until April or May until those areas are fully out of risk, and that is still dependent on dry weather.”

The Stour  flooded over into the St Radigun's car park in the city centre. File picture

The Stour flooded over into the St Radigun's car park in the city centre. File picture

Clay-based areas will dry up more quickly, but this would still take three to four weeks of prolonged dry weather to get us back to anything like a normal winter situation in the county.”

Kent’s chalk lying areas south and east of Canterbury leading to Dover and Folkestone will take the longest to recover from the UK’s wettest winter in 250 years.

It means areas around rivers like the Great and Little Stour will be at the most risk because natural aquifers which usually absorb excess water are already full.

Mark Douch added: “The Medway and the Rother catchment are on clay and therefore react and dry up more quickly.

“When you look at rivers in East Kent, like the Stour, they are around underlying chalk and it will take them a good few months for that groundwater to run out and get back into the sea.”

Water is pumped out from flooded areas. File picture Jane Bates

Water is pumped out from flooded areas. File picture: Jane Bates

Meanwhile, firefighters from Deal pumped out six inches of flood water from two bungalows in East Studdal, last night.

The two families living in Homestead Lane in East Studdal became flood victims as water from the fields behind them ran into their homes.

Firefighters diverted the water using their main pump, from 5.30pm until 8pm.

Firefighters managed to stop water entering a third bungalow by creating a wall with sandbags.

Unfortunately, the three bungalows remain at risk of more flooding as the damp weather continues.

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