Turmoil as we’re lashed by winds of over 60mph

PUBLISHED: 16:30 12 March 2008 | UPDATED: 14:28 25 August 2010

RESIDENTS in north Kent were lashed by fierce wind and rain on Monday as the worst storm of the winter battered Britain.

RESIDENTS in north Kent were lashed by fierce wind and rain on Monday as the worst storm of the winter battered Britain.

Weather experts warned people to stay inside unless travel was essential as the storm crossed the Atlantic from Canada overnight.

Power lines across Kent were affected, debris was reported on the A2 near Greenhithe and the Dartford QE2 bridge was closed from 6am as winds in excess of 50 miles per hour thrashed the structure.

As many braved the conditions, tussling with umbrellas and barely managing to stay on their feet two motorists had a lucky escape in nearby Northfleet.

A tree swaying under the heavy winds uprooted and crashed through a wall, smashing down on two vehicles as they approached from either direction.

Debbie Spinks, 35, had just dropped her four children at school minutes before the tree crashed through the back of her Ford Galaxy, now a write-off.

Visibly shocked and assessing the damage she said: "I am so grateful this did not happen 10 minutes earlier because my children would have been in the back and almost certainly injured.

"In a way this is the best outcome it could have been awful. I really don't know what would have happened to them if they had been in the back."

The terrifying accident happened in Vale Road, Northfleet, as 80mph gusts battered the country at about 9am on Monday.

Her mother Brenda Webster, 55, of Vale Road, said: "It was an act of God, it is no-ones fault but I hate to think if those kids were in there.

"They would have been injured, maybe worse. It is dreadful looking at the damage to think what might have been."

It was the worst incident to hit north Kent as powerful gusts also felled smaller trees in villages surrounding Dartford and Gravesend.

The strong winds blew down a power line in Norstead Lane, Pratts Bottom at around 9.45am on Monday morning.

Police cordoned off the area while it was made safe but nobody was injured in the incident.

Paul Leinster, Environment Agency director of operations, said there would be a "potent cocktail" of strong winds, waves and high tides continuing until Wednesday.

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