Kent set to be battered by wind and rain during severe storm
Storm clouds over the Sheppey Crossing. Library picture.
The Sheppey Crossing has been closed by high winds as Kent prepares for a severe storm.
Forecasters believe high winds and rain will now hit around midnight.
It is feared the county will be battered by gusts of up to 80mph, with exposed coastal areas expected to be worst affected.
Many parts of the county are already experiencing bad weather and the crossing was closed at 4pm. A 30mph speed limit has been imposed at the Dartford Crossing.
There had been hopes that the storm, predicted to be the worst in decades, would miss the UK and instead pass over the English Channel.
But experts now believe it will hit the South West of the country, before moving across the southern half of the UK.
A car damaged in High Street, Queenborough, during the Great Storm of October 1987
There are already warnings of traffic chaos, with rail company Southeastern warning of severe disruption on Monday morning.
A spokesman for the operator said it was likely many services may not start running until 9 or 10am to allow tracks to be cleared.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service has issued fresh advice on staying safe in extreme weather.
A spokesman said: "Residents are being reminded that during a storm, the emergency services will be very busy so only call for immediate assistance if there is a risk to life or serious property or environmental damage."
If severe weather leads to flooding in certain areas, motorists are being warned not to attempt to drive through flooded roads or fords.
KFRS Head of Community Safety, Stuart Skilton said: "This can be extremely dangerous as the water is often deeper than it looks and may be moving quite fast.
"Your vehicle may be swept away or become stranded. Do not travel in heavy rain storms unless absolutely necessary."
Mr Skilton added: “Following a flood in your home, make sure all electrical circuits are fully dried out and checked by an electrical engineer before switching back on.
Holm Place Farm, Holm Place, Halfway, completely collapsed in the 1987 storm
"Please look after neighbours who may be vulnerable. Keep an eye on weather reports on local television or radio news channels.”
A spokesman for the Met Office, said: "We are confident that a severe storm will affect Britain on Sunday night and Monday.
"We are now looking at refining the details about which areas will see the strongest winds and the heaviest rain.
"This is a developing situation and we'd advise people to stay up to date with our forecasts and warnings over the weekend, and be prepared to change their plans if necessary."
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