Big Increase In Fallen Trees

Emergency workers say they dealt with more than 170 trees and branches which had been brought down by the storms in Kent on Tuesday.

Many were left blocking roads as winds of up 60mph lashed the county. Dover was the worst hit, with residents making 25 calls about fallen trees and branches, while Tonbridge and Malling, Maidstone and Sevenoaks all had more than 20 call outs each.

Road teams from Kent County Council also tackled dozens of other calls of flooding, blocked drains and other road related incidents, bring the total number of call outs across Kent to 269.

That's a four-fold increase on the normal number of call outs its teams get in a week.

KCC says forward planning by its Highways and Transportation team meant additional highways officers were on standby to deal with the expected increase in calls from residents. Plans also included boosting the numbers of tree surgeons, drain-clearing crews and call handlers, by moving staff from other roles, to help keep Kent moving.

On Thursday, the winds returned, after a brief respite on Wednesday. Gusts of 65mph were recorded in Langdon near Dover causing disruption to some ferry services. The QEII Bridge at Dartford was closed again for a time, causing long queues on both sides of the Thames. 50mph speed restrictions were also put in place along the M2 Medway Bridge as a safety precaution.

Elsewhere the strong winds blew debris on to the railway line between Strood and Maidstone, causing rush hour delays for commuters. 

In Swanscombe, a roof was ripped off a row of shops and flats. The roof at Miers Court Primary in Rainham was left badly damaged, leading to the school being closed for two days.