20 FEBRUARY 2022

Stay ‘weather aware’ as storm clean up continues

Kent residents should continue to heed weather warnings, check routes before travelling and call UK Power Networks on 105 if needing emergency or extra help because of power cuts.

A Met Office yellow weather warning is in force for the southern half of the UK, including Kent, from Noon Sunday to 3pm Monday, signalling further spells of strong winds are expected which may cause some further disruption.

The continued unsettled weather has made conditions challenging for the many teams, including engineers, highways and chainsaw crews, tree surgeons and call centre staff, working round-the-clock this weekend to help get Kent back up and running after the county was severely disrupted by Storm Eunice.

One of the most powerful weather systems to hit the UK in decades, Eunice caused significant damage to parts of the South East electricity network.

Gusts of over 70mph generated a month’s-worth of faults on Friday for UK Power Networks and the operator is continuing working flat out to restore supplies to the thousands of Kent homes that remain cut off as quickly as possible. It is also delivering thousands of hot meals to its most vulnerable customers who are without power. For the latest from UK Power Networks visit www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk

The county’s rail services also continue to be disrupted. Follow the latest Southeastern train service updates here For the latest from Southern Rail visit www.southernrailway.com/travel-information

Meanwhile, volunteers from SouthEast4x4 Response have been assisting Kent Police apply emergency road closures so crews including from Kent County Council (KCC) Highways teams can clear fallen trees and debris. KCC Highways alone received over 500 reports of storm damage on Kent’s local road network in just 24 hours over Friday into Saturday.

To report an emergency on KCC roads this weekend call 03000 419191. Non-emergency faults on County Council roads can still be reported via the Fault Reporting Service at webapps.kent.gov.uk/KCC.KHSFaultsGIS.Web.Sites.Public/Default.aspx

Residents are also being reminded they should report any property or vehicle damage as soon as possible to their insurer and to beware of door-stepping scammers offering to fix storm repairs for a price that seems too good to be true. Find a safe local trader with Trading Standards Checked here: Trading Standards Checked (kent.gov.uk)

During Friday, Kent Fire and Rescue Service responded to around 190 largely weather-related incidents while Kent Police received five times the number of 999 calls they usually receive in a single day.

Kent Resilience Forum (KRF) Tactical Lead and Kent County Council Senior Highways Manager Toby Howe said: “Eunice was a serious storm and as many of our residents will be only too aware there have been major impacts across the county.

“Throughout the weekend there’s been a big collective effort by a wide range of organisations, including Kent Resilience Forum partners and districts and boroughs, to get Kent back up and running and this will continue until the job is done.

“We also need people to remain vigilant as the weather remains unsettled and some strong winds could still cause disruption into next week.

“Check the weather and traffic news before travelling, report concerns about weather-related damage, and contact UK Power Networks on 105 if you need emergency or extra help because of power cuts.”

If you need to travel, or are unsure who to report storm damage to, here are some useful contacts:

WEATHER – visit the Met Office website or follow the Met Office’s social media channels, including on Twitter via @metoffice, @metofficeSEEng and @metofficeUK. The key hashtags to follow are #weatherready #weatherwarnings and #StormEunice. You can also follow the Met Office on You Tube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok

TRAVEL UPDATES – visit KCC’s Travel & Transport page here to see who to follow for the latest traffic and travel updates in Kent

LOCAL ROAD DAMAGE – report any emergency issues, including fallen trees in the road, to KCC Highways on 03000 419191 out-of-hours. Between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday call 03000 418181

GAS LEAK – if you suspect a gas leak, call the National Grid emergency line on 0800 111 9999

FLOODING – Environment Agency flood alerts remain in place In the event of flooding, call the Environment Agency on 0800 807060

UNSAFE BUILDINGS – contact your local council’s Building Control Team but if people’s lives are in immediate danger call 999

HOME REPAIRS – find a safe local trader with Trading Standards Checked here: Trading Standards Checked (kent.gov.uk)

EMERGENCIES – including a damaged power line that puts lives in immediate danger, call 999