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Counting cost of winter storms as homes collapse

Gales cause damage to cars and property

DANGER: In South Street, Whitstable, a tree fell on a power line
DANGER: In South Street, Whitstable, a tree fell on a power line

CHRISTMAS was anything but merry for dozens of people this year as they dealt with the aftermath of seasonal storms. Scores faced the festive season without water or power after trees brought down power lines, and power failures affected water supplies. Hundreds more were left counting the cost of the damage, with severe damage to a house in Sheldwich, near Faversham, and in Sydenham Street and King Edward Street, Whitstable. In Sheldwich, the gable end of a house collapsed and fell onto the roof below, while in Whitstable the sides of the buildings crumbled under the pressure of Monday’s weather, sending bricks crashing down onto cars below.

Smashed

In St Andrew’s Close, Whitstable, a chimney stack broke and smashed through the roof of a house. The beacon on Tankerton Slopes was blown over, and an entire line of trees by the Gorrell Tank car park in Whitstable had to be cut down after 60mph winds left them leaning into the road. In Herne Bay, trees were blown down around the town but residents in The Grove, Greenhill, refused to let it dampen their festive spirit and added decorations to a fallen tree. Roads were closed, including the Thanet Way and the A2, after they were blocked by trees and there was more travel misery as trains were cancelled. There were safety fears at Herne Bay station after part of the building was damaged. People living in other parts of the county suffered devastating floods as rivers, including the River Medway, burst their banks. The River Stour was put on flood alert as the water rose dangerously high, leaving parts of the Kingsmead coach park under water. Elsewhere, there were countless reports of missing fence panels, trees down and roof tiles blown off and many spent Christmas Eve clearing up the mess rather than wrapping up presents. Some homes were without power until Friday, despite engineers working through the night over the festive period. A spokesman for UK Power Networks said at its peak, 300,000 customers suffered a power cut. He added:

“All our efforts remain fully focused on reconnecting power supplies in the quickest way possible. Our contingency plans continue to be deployed with all available operational staff working in the field to restore customers’ supplies. We have extra staff on duty many of whom have cancelled their leave to help with the repair effort or to join our additional call centres. We provided hundreds of Christmas dinners for people without power, at restaurants and mobile facilities across the south east.”

Herne Bay Times, January 2nd 2014

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