Severe weather brings return to flood misery

Householders are clearing up after heavy rain brought further flood misery to parts of the south east of England.

Householders are clearing up after heavy rain brought further flood misery to parts of the south east of England.

The Royal Irish Regiment was drafted in to help evacuate dozens of people from their homes in the seaside town of Herne Bay, Kent.

The troops used Land Rovers and inflatable dinghies to get to flooded areas while Canterbury City Council set up three emergency rest centres and issued 2,000 sandbags to residents.

Kent Fire Brigade used inflatable dinghies, borrowed from the Army, to rescue 24 elderly people and four pet dogs from homes in Herne Bay.

In East Sussex firefighters called in an inshore lifeboat to evacuate 50 flood-hit homes in the village of Pett, near Hastings, which were under a metre of water. One woman was taken to the Conquest Hospital in Hastings suffering the effects of the cold.

Flooding and landslips caused headaches for rail chiefs and commuters on lines in the south and south east. A Connex spokesman said a landslip at Coulsdon, south London, meant trains could not run between Purley and Redhill. Brighton trains were diverted on another line and a shuttle was operating from Gatwick to Redhill.

A section of line between Ashford and Dover via Folkestone in Kent was expected to be closed until 2pm, and bus links and diversions were being used.

Up to 30 children were rescued by farmers from a school bus travelling to Tadcaster Grammar School after it was left stranded by flood water near York.

The Environment Agency said four severe flood warnings remained in place.

They are for the River Cuckmere between Alfriston and Exceat Bridge, Sussex; the River Rother between Mayfield and Newenden, Sussex; the River Teise and Lesser Teise between Lamberhurst and Yalding, Kent; and the River Beult from Pluckley and Bethersden to Yalding, Kent.

There are also 83 flood warnings currently in force across Britain. Property has already been flooded in Yalding and water levels are expected to peak at midday, a spokesman said.

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