Kent is braced for flooding as Storm Dennis continues for a second day.
Warnings are in place for the Little Venice Country Park and Marina and low-lying properties in Yalding, along the River Eden and Eden Brook around Haxted Mill, in Edenbridge and Hever, and for the River Medway between Forest Row and Penshurst, including Ashurst and Hartwell.
Others have been been issued this afternoon for the River Beult and Lesser Teise at Collier Street, including Marden, Benover, Chainhurst and Haviker Street, and the River Medway between Yalding and Maidstone, including Wateringbury, West Farleigh, Teston and East Farleigh.
Areas including East Peckham, Horsmonden, Goudhurst and Lamberhurst are also set to be hit while there is an alert in place across the Isle of Sheppey with flooding possible for The 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.
The Environment Agency says flooding could start from now on with the peak being reached overnight into Monday.
It is closely monitoring the situation with incident response staff checking structures and clearing blockages where it is safe to do so.
A flood warning means residents and businesses should take “immediate action” to safeguard property and themselves.
Flooding closed the M25 anticlockwise entry slip road at junction 1A for the A206 Bob Dunn Way at Swanscombe just after 5pm.
The M26 Eastbound exit slip road was also shut due to flooding at junction 2A for the A20 London Road at Wrotham. But traffic is said to be coping well.
Further afield lanes were closed and there was slow traffic due to flooding on the M25 anticlockwise from junction 6 for the A22 at Godstone to junction 5. The road is now fully open.
The Clacket Lane Services along the same stretch is also shut on the anti-clockwise side.
This morning, a train was damaged when it crashed into a fallen tree in Longfield.
While Bredhurst lost electricity when a tree fell on power lines in the village.
Parish council chairman Vanessa Jones said: “We’ve got no power here. UK Power Networks said there was a tree down in The Street.”
She said she hoped the situation would be resolved soon and that the worst of Storm Dennis was over.
“It wasn’t very pleasant overnight but it’s not too bad now. They estimated the power would be back by 2.30pm but hopefully it will be quicker.
“It’s just one of those things – it’s to be expected in bad weather.”
As well as the warnings, there are currently flood alerts for 22 locations across Kent.
Villagers at Yalding were bracing themselves for the worst tonight.
Environment Agency engineers have set up an emergency control centre in the village hall and have been giving out 1,000 sand bags.
A spokesman said: “We have deployed more than 1,000 sandbags in Yalding to provide vital flood protection.
“Our community information officers have been out talking to residents and supporting the volunteer flood wardens.
“We have hosted multi-agency calls with our key partners, including community representatives, to discuss and co-ordinate our response.”
He added that evacuations have taken place at the Little Venice Country Park coordinated by Kent County Council and Maidstone Borough Council.
Geraldine Brown who chairs Yalding parish council said: “We are as prepared as we can be. We have given out the sand bags and have closed the roads – although some people are still ignoring the signs.
“We are always worried when this happens but we are hoping it will be less than it was at Christmas when we managed to cope.”
The Environment Agency’s area incident room will remain open 24 hours a day during Storm Dennis to monitor what happens and to respond.
Yalding parish council chairman Geraldine Brown
The spokesman added: “Our staff are out inspecting flood defences across Kent, clearing river blockages and ensuring that, wherever possible, rivers and streams are flowing freely.
“We encourage people to be aware of their flood risk, sign up for the free flood warning service and what to do in the event of a flood at https://www.gov.uk/check-flood-risk.
“Or contact our 24-hour Floodline on 0345 988 1188.”
The authority is preparing to put into operation the Leigh live flood storage area near Tonbridge from around 8pm tonight. It was last used in December.
Engineers will take water from the Medway and let it flood adjoining fields to stop the river from bursting its banks further downstream.
Environment Agency: How the ‘live flood storage system’ works
Several roads in Yalding are now impassable because of flood water and have been blocked by volunteers from the South East 4×4 Response emergency team to stop motorists getting into difficulties.
One volunteer warned: “We strongly advise people not to risk it.”
Pictures from Edenbridge show the high levels of the River Eden threatening to spill over on to surrounding roads.
The yellow wind warning for Kent is no longer in place but the rain warning remains until 9pm.
The latest Met Office forecast says there will be scattered showers throughout the county this evening but most places will be dry and clear overnight.
There will be possible gales along coasts and a minimum temperature of 2C heading in to Monday when conditions will be similar, with a possibility of further showers and the mercury dipping to 9C.
The weather will pick up heading into the latter part of the week but there will be possible frost and showers.
The weather caused chaos yesterday, with hundreds of people left without power and a roof collapsing onto a parade of shops.
The Met Office says strong winds and heavy rain will continue throughout the day.
A tree on the rail line between Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge was cleared this morning and services are now running as normal.
Network Rail staff also removed a tree from the shelter on platform 1 at Sturry station.
Meanwhile, there were reports of delays of up to an hour on Eurotunnel services from Folkestone.
Southeastern said speed restrictions would be in place on certain routes until 2pm.
The A252 in Chilham was closed both ways due to a fallen tree between Long Hill to Taylors Hill.
In Swan Lane, Sellindge, a fallen tree was obstructing junctions at Broad Street and Hayton Road, while Maidstone Road, Matfield, was closed because of flooding.
Cranbrook Road in Tenterden is also blocked by a fallen tree near Goodshill Farm.
The Port of Dover says sea conditions in the Channel are very rough and visibility is poor.
Meanwhile the RSPCA says across the UK it has responded to an “unprecedented” 50 major rescues involving trapped animals.
Fire crews have been busy across the county. Just before 5.30am one engine was sent to the scene of a tree that had fallen onto the roof of a house on Knatts Valley in Sevenoaks.
Two hours later firefighters were called to London Road in Deal where a tree had fallen onto two properties and street lighting.
Less than an hour after that one fire engine was sent to the scene of an overhanging roof at a commercial property on Romney Place, Maidstone, before at 9.20am teams attended the scene of a roof overhanging a public footpath on Beecroft Close in Canterbury.
A Kent-based weather enthusiast has said this morning that Storm Dennis has been caused by global warming.
KentOnline will be providing live updates throughout the day.
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