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Flooding hits Kent amid Storm Franklin and closes Pentagon shopping centre in Chatham as River Medway bursts banks


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A shopping centre was evacuated and many streets are underwater as flooding hit Kent days after Storm Eunice wreaked havoc.

The Pentagon in Chatham was evacuated at about 2.30pm yesterday as high tides caused flooding in Medway, Gravesend and Aylesford.

The shopping centre has reopened this morning. No lasting damage had been reported.

A spokesman said that such incidents had become common and the operation to manage it was carried out internally, unless it became serious when Kent Fire and Rescue would step in.

He said: "The swell normally takes about half an hour giving shopkeepers enough warning to protect stock."

He added that staff had become "practised" in dealing with the flooding at the centre.

Meanwhile Canal Road in Strood was closed by police with fire engines on the scene and cars in The Esplanade in Rochester being semi-submerged.

The Esplanade, Rochester. Picture: Sue Daykin
The Esplanade, Rochester. Picture: Sue Daykin

Medway Council tweeted yesterday: "We have received reports of localised flooding along the pathways at The Strand and Riverside Countryside.

"Residents are advised to avoid these routes if possible and to take extra care if walking along the river."

And they added: "Motorists are advised that Pier Road (A289) in Gillingham is currently closed in both directions due to flooding.

"Residents are advised to find alternative routes as long delays are expected."

Five flood alerts were in place across Kent as the county continues to suffer the impact of severe weather, with Eunice hitting hard on Friday and Storm Franklin causing high winds and closing transport routes yesterday.

One flood alert remains in place in the Lower River Medway area after flooding was predicted in subways and towpaths in Maidstone Town Centre and Lockmeadow between 4.30pm and 6.30pm yesterday.

Levels were expected to remain high throughout yesterday evening, but the Environment Agency are set to update the alert at 10am today.

Flooding at The Esplanade in Rochester. Picture by Jamie Parker
Flooding at The Esplanade in Rochester. Picture by Jamie Parker
Flooding near Strood Station
Flooding near Strood Station
Large sections of Gravesend riverside have been hit by heavy flooding. Picture: Jason Arthur
Large sections of Gravesend riverside have been hit by heavy flooding. Picture: Jason Arthur
The Strand in Gillingham. Picture by Denis Johnson
The Strand in Gillingham. Picture by Denis Johnson
Flooding at the Esplanade in Rochester. Image: the Caithness family
Flooding at the Esplanade in Rochester. Image: the Caithness family
Flooding at the Esplanade in Rochester. Image: the Caithness family
Flooding at the Esplanade in Rochester. Image: the Caithness family

Video: Caithness Family

Meanwhile, the Thames Barrier, which helps protect London and Kent from flooding, was shut in response to high tides and storm surges.

In Gravesend riverside areas were also underwater, with Town Pier and the promenade badly affected.

The walkways around St Andrews Quay, West Street, where LV21 lightship is docked, had been largely submerged.

Aerial images show sections of the promenade next to the Fort Gardens, known as 'The Dell', were also badly hit.

At the Mill Hall Business Estate in Aylesford, workers had to leave their vehicles in car parks after the River Medway reportedly burst its banks.

High tide flooded Neptune's Jetty at Sheerness, Sheppey. Picture: Adam Young/Swale Weather
High tide flooded Neptune's Jetty at Sheerness, Sheppey. Picture: Adam Young/Swale Weather
High tide flooded Neptune's Jetty at Sheerness, Sheppey. Picture: Adam Young/Swale Weather
High tide flooded Neptune's Jetty at Sheerness, Sheppey. Picture: Adam Young/Swale Weather

The record high tide during Storm Franklin also swamped some parts of Sheppey. Neptune Jetty at Sheerness was once again under water as winds whipped up the waves.

And Crundall's Wharf at Queenborough disappeared under water as The Swale rose to one of its highest levels.

The sea completely covered the hard in front of the Old House at Home pub and was only stopped from flooding the rest of Queenborough High Street by the town's flood gates.

Swale councillor Cameron Beart (Con, Queenborough and Halfway) said: "It was the highest I have ever seen it."

Photos were posted on social media from Henry Slack and Adam Young of Swale Weather.

High tide flooded Crundall's Wharf by the all-tide landing stage at Queenborough, Sheppey. Picture: Henry Slack
High tide flooded Crundall's Wharf by the all-tide landing stage at Queenborough, Sheppey. Picture: Henry Slack
High tide at Queenborough, Sheppey. The town was saved by the flood gates. Picture: Henry Slack
High tide at Queenborough, Sheppey. The town was saved by the flood gates. Picture: Henry Slack

Faversham also found itself under water as the creek burst its banks.

This morning, 1,600 homes still have no power after Friday's storm.

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