Maidstone town centre hit by flooding on Christmas Day
The worst flooding seen since 2000 left thousands of homes without power on Christmas Day. Families had to be rescued from their homes and roads were closed as Maidstone and West Kent responded to flooding. Floods spread across Maidstone, Malling and the Weald. Homes in Yalding were still being evacuated on Boxing Day. It was declared a major incident and prompted Kent Fire and Rescue Service to abandon its planned strike action.
Lockmeadow complex was completed flooded on Christmas Day (image source)
Emergency services worked round the day and through the night rescuing families trapped in rising flood waters as water spread, submerging more areas. Kent Fire and Rescue services confirmed that 50 people had to be rescued from their homes in Yalding in an operation that began midday on Christmas Day and continued through to midnight.
Four water rescue teams were in operation as fire crews used boats to help get people to safety. 80 people had to be rescued from a caravan park in Yalding after the area was met by floods over 2 feet deep. Coastguard teams were called in to assist the rescue.
Maidstone was cut in two after Kent Police closed the bridge on Christmas Day. The bridge was reopened at 11.15AM on Boxing Day and roads were also re-opened.
Above: Maidstone Bridge closed on Christmas Day (image source)
Electricity cables were brought down following gale force winds and torrential rain two days before Christmas. UK Power Networks staff worked throughout the night to ensure as many homes as possible could have an electricity supply for Christmas Day.
Kent Police declared a major incident for the flooding issues affecting the county. In response to the incident, Kent Fire and Rescue Service and Kent FBU officials agreed to recall Firefighters across the county who were due to take strike action.