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Environment Agency issues two flood alerts for Kent after remains of Hurricane Bertha leaves trail of chaos across county

Two flood alerts are in force for Kent today after nearly a month's worth of rain fell in just a few hours.

Winds of more than 40mph and heavy rain from the remains of hurricane Bertha battered the county yesterday.

The Environment Agency has flood warnings in place from Sandgate to Dungeness today because of more strong winds expected along the coast.

St Paul's Road in Sittingbourne. Picture via@harveymelia
St Paul's Road in Sittingbourne. Picture via@harveymelia

The height of the storm came around lunchtime yesterday and appeared to have passed by late afternoon.

But as the mopping-up operation got under way, more heavy rain was forecast for this afternoon after a brief period of respite overnight.

Flash flooding caused chaos for motorists and forced two supermarkets to evacuate shoppers and close for business.

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Falling ceiling panels at Morrisons in Maidstone. Picture by Ian Duffus.
Falling ceiling panels at Morrisons in Maidstone. Picture by Ian Duffus.

Video footage emerged of ceiling panels that had fallen onto the shop floor at Morrisons in Maidstone - leaving water pouring into the supermarket. Luckily, no one was hurt.

And rain started pouring through the ceiling at Asda in Sittingbourne onto the checkout area.

Rain gushes through the ceiling at Asda in Sittingbourne. Picture: @kent_999s/Laura Snare
Rain gushes through the ceiling at Asda in Sittingbourne. Picture: @kent_999s/Laura Snare

An Environment Agency flood alert today cover the coast and tidal areas from Sandgate to Lydd, including Hythe, Dymchurch, St Mary's Bay, Littlestone, Greatstone, New Romney and communities on the Romney Marsh up to the Royal Military Canal.

Another covers the coast from Fairlight to Dungeness, including Dungeness, Lydd, Camber, Winchelsea Beach, Pett Level and the Tidal Rother to Rye, Rye Harbour and East Guldeford.

Video: Water pours through ceiling at Asda in Sittingbourne. Courtesy of Charlotte Thurston

In Maidstone, Kent Highways reported Sheals Crescent was impassable during lunchtime but engineers were at the scene trying to clear the lanes and eventually the road re-opened.

Another team worked to pump away excessive surface water at the junction of London Road and Rocky Hill.

In Gravesend, fire crews were called after a tree fell on to a car at about 3pm in Valley Drive.

Video: Water pours through the roof at Morrisons in Maidstone

The incident took place outside a row of shops and it is believed a man and woman were in the vehicle, thought to be a Mercedes. Police told people at the scene no one was injured.

The road was partially closed until the tree could be safely removed.

Firefighters and paramedics attended. A traffic light was also damaged in the incident.

The incident at Valley Drive, Gravesend. Picture: @checkov1975
The incident at Valley Drive, Gravesend. Picture: @checkov1975

In Ashford, Bertha showed no mercy to the Willesborough Windmill annual country craft fair, demolishing gazebos and leaving a powerful steam engine stuck on sodden ground

Thunderstorms were reported in Medway and elsewhere in north Kent while big waves were seen on the southern coast of the county.

On Facebook Steve Griggs posted: "Wet 'n breezy in Folkestone. Tipping it down now. More like damp squib than hurricane Bertha, hoping it stays that way for Kent."

Elena Cooper reported: "Extremely heavy downpours starting to flood areas in Maidstone with thunder and lightening," while fellow County Town resident Sarah Sloane was in no doubt about the strength of the storm, saying: "Definitely a hurricane in Maidstone."

The sporting scene was decimated with cricket matches abandoned without a ball being bowled, including Kent's one-day match against Warwickshire.

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