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Emergency accommodation centres prepared as tidal surge threatens homes in Seasalter

By Gerry Warren

Emergency centres are being prepared in Whitstable in case homes have to be evacuated by the tidal surge threatening the coastline.

The city council has already closed 45 floodgates as a precautionary measure, following forecasts of a strong northerly winds coinciding with high tides today and tomorrow.

The north east coast is vulnerable and has been badly hit in the past by tidal surges, leaving homes flooded.

Hide tide swept over Whitstable harbour in 2013
Hide tide swept over Whitstable harbour in 2013

It suffered in 2013 when some Seasalter homeowners sought refuge in emergency accommodation.

Council staff are on standby and will also be visiting properties in Faversham Road, Seasalter, deemed most at risk in the area, to ensure residents are prepared if they are hit.

The council has a total of 57 floodgates along the coast – more than any other coastal local authority in the country – and the other 12 will remain open unless the forecast worsens to an extent their closure is warranted.

Although the flooding risk is currently low, officers will be monitoring forecasts over the next 24 to 48 hours and working closely with organisations such as the Environment Agency.

High tide swept over Whitstable harbour in 2013.
High tide swept over Whitstable harbour in 2013.

Engineering manager Liam Wooltorton said: "The risk of flooding is low but we’re taking the approach that it is best to be prepared. The highest tides are forecast for Friday afternoon and very early Saturday morning and we are keeping a very close eye on the forecast ahead of these.

"There is plenty of information available for the public via our website and the Environment Agency’s website, including their flood alerts system. Should any major problems arise, people should also monitor local news outlets."

The council is also warning that bin collections could be delayed by the weather but are asking residents to leave them out as usual.

Information and links to other organisations can be found at the city council website. There will also be updates if required on the council’s Facebook page and on Twitter @canterburycc.

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