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Clean-up begins after major storm causes flash flood chaos in Kent with Sittingbourne and Teynham badly affected

By Lewis Dyson

A clean-up is under way today after flash flooding hit Kent as yet another powerful storm hit the county - bringing a month's worth of rain in just three-and-a-half hours.

The Environment Agency still had flood alerts in place this morning - including for areas of the Isle of Sheppey and the Stour at Ashford.

Several homes in the county were struck by lightning during a powerful storm on Friday, while flooding affected roads during heavy downpours yesterday - particularly in Sittingbourne and Teynham.

A road in Teynham is left completely underwater during a flash flood. Picture: @Kent_999s

Almost a month's worth of rain fell over Sittingbourne in just three-and-a-half hours yesterday, an amateur weatherman revealed today.

Jeremy Procter measures the elements at his home in Cobham Avenue, Sittingbourne, using a weather station giving him accurate, daily information.

Between 3pm and 5.30pm on Sunday, 19.5mm of rain fell, which compares to 21.3mm for the whole of last month and 22mm in July last year.

Mr Proctor said another weather station roughly 15 miles away in Headcorn measured no rain at all.

He added: "It was almost tropical rain drops to begin with. That was very interesting. The trouble is a sudden deluge like this just overloads the drains.

"We are getting more and more extremes of weather. Whether you put that down to global warming or cyclical or whatever, that is what the data is showing."

Flooding on Sittingbourne High Street. Picture: @Spinnerfox

The Environment Agency had two flood warnings still in force for Kent this morning.

It highlights possible flooding on Sheppey, with Scrapsgate Drain from the B2008 to the sea, through Minster and Scrapsgate and the Warden Bay Drain from Bay View to the sea, including Warden and surrounding holiday villages

In the Upper River Stour area of Ashford, it is possible levels in the Whitewater Dyke and Ruckinge Dyke will rise and cause flooding to low-lying land.

However, forecasters say Kent should have sunny spells today - with highs of 26C and the chance of showers later.

Gandhi restaurant in West Street, Gravesend. Picture by @andy1walker
Heavy rainfall leads to flash flooding in Sittingbourne. Picture: @HarveyMelia

The Met Office had issued a yellow alert for thundery, heavy downpours until midnight on Sunday as temperatures remained high. Sittingbourne, Gravesend and Teynham appear to have been particularly badly affected yesterday - while drivers reported the A2 between Newington and Rainham under a lot of water.

In Lower Road and London Road in Teynham, water levels reached the wheel arches of cars and started seeping into people's homes.

The A249 at Key Street Roundabout had to be closed, which is believed to have been due to flooding in the underpass, causing long tailbacks in both directions.

Bill Smith's back garden in Glovers Crescent, Sittingbourne, was inundated with runoff from Bell Road.

He said: "It happens every time there's a heavy downpour and we're fed up with it. There were manholes blowing off the road further up."

Bill Smith is angry about being waterlogged in two feet of water in his back garden

Peter Pethers, manager of the Summoner in Sittingbourne High Street, said: "There was a massive downpour running through the [Bell] shopping centre and it immediately started to gather in the side entrance to the pub. We have secured that area.

"We swept most of the water away. It was just like a flash flood. It came down in seconds. The road outside was a river. It's all drained away now."

Kent County Council's road safety team urged drivers to be careful heading out onto the roads, while the Kent Police's roads policing unit tweeted advice.

Cars travel through a flooded area on Bell Road in Sittingbourne due to a burst water main

Julie Henderson, barmaid at The Stumble Inn, Chalkwell Road, Sittingbourne, said water could be seen bubbling up through a drain on St Paul's Street nearby causing bad traffic in the surrounding area.

She said: "It was pretty bad. They shut the road off down by Morrisons [Mill Way]. The drains couldn't keep up with the water."

Alice Wong, the owner of The George and New Territories in London Road, Teynham, said: "A little bit came in so I put something in the door to block it. It was bad in the afternoon but it's all gone now."

Sean Bone-Knell, from Kent Fire and Rescue Service, said they had seen the "extremes of weather" over the past few weeks.

"Again with the forecast we can see both ends of the scale," he said.

"We've had the hot weather and now we've got downpours. We've seen lots of flash flooding across Kent and people who live in areas that are susceptible to this should take the necessary precautions.

"But it's also when people are driving. There can be some extremely hazardous driving conditions when roads that have been very dry suddenly get very wet. This can make the road surface very greasy and can cause accidents."

Police control traffic along West Street, Sittingbourne
The storm causes Crown Quay Lane in Sittingbourne to flood. Picture: Shine Mobile Valeting
Another road in Sittingbourne affected by flooding. Picture: Karen Fagg

Forecasters predicted up to 30mm of rain could fall in an hour during particularly heavy downpours over the weekend.

The Met Office said: "Significant flooding is possible from surface water as well as from small, fast-responding watercourses."

The Environment Agency warned some drainage systems might not be able to cope with the intense rainfall, and teams are out clearing watercourses in preparation.

Staff at a supermarket in Northfleet take pictures as flood water rushes in. Picture: Kent_999s
Some people are making the most of the wet conditions. Picture: @Kent_999s

Barry Russell, Environment Agency operations manager, said: "We are doing all we can to prepare for the heavy rainfall, which increases the risk of surface water flooding.

"We are monitoring the situation closely and supporting local councils, who will respond to any reports of surface water flooding.

"The intense nature of the rainfall which causes surface water flooding makes it very difficult to accurately predict where it will occur, so I would urge people to check local weather forecasts and the gov.uk website for information on a regular basis."

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