The forecast for the weekend is bleak with heavy rain forecast over night and on and off throughout the weekend – particularly from first light on Saturday morning. Further rain is forecast throughout next week.
The Environment Agency has issued three flood warnings around Yalding, Pluckley and the river Stour in Canterbury. In our Borough, there is a possibility that Lamberhurst might be affected on Saturday/Sunday. Other potential problems outside the Borough include Hadlow, East Peckham, Hildenborough, Collier Street, Ashford, Tovil and Maidstone Town Centre. There is likely to be problems with surface water and drainage pretty much anywhere across the county but these will be difficult to predict and will be dependent on levels of rainfall locally. We are keeping a particular eye on vulnerable areas set out in our Flood Plan (Paddock Wood, Five Oak Green, Capel and Lamberhurst).
We have been keeping in regular touch with KCC, the Police, Environment Agency, Met Office, Kent Fire and Rescue Service and others through telephone conferences and Kent Police will be opening a Coordination Centre to oversee and coordinate the response to any flooding. I will be joining a meeting at 2pm tomorrow afternoon to assess the situation.
We have our Emergency Centre set up and ready to go (but not yet open) in Committee Room A to provide local coordination if needs be and we also have staff ready to open our contact centre if the need arises and we have a number of staff on standby who we can call in if the need should arise.
We have spoken to local parish councils in vulnerable areas to update them on the current position and to make sure that we understand any issues/concerns they may have.
We have distributed sandbags to storage facilities in these areas and restocked those supplies and have further supplies loaded on a lorry ready to go at our depot and have further stocks available if needs be and a contractor on standby to deliver them.
We have provided a range of information on our website and are continuing to push out information proactively via social media and in response to inquiries.
I have attached a useful booklet from the Environment Agency on ‘What to do before, during or after a flood’ which you may find useful to distribute to any residents who have contacted you with a concern.