Strong winds have brought down trees, ripped part of the sheeting roof from Tesco at Westwood and are causing flying debris – especially in sea front areas.
There are reports of a fallen tree and lamppost blocking the Sandwich bypass, next to Richborough power station, heading in to Thanet.
Shoppers are also reportedly being turned back from Westwood Cross and Tesco at Westwood has been evacuated.
Our photographer on the scene, John Horton, said: “All staff ok, inside of store is fine – but winds are increasing so much the fire brigade has instructed everyone to leave. The roof is flapping like tin foil at the front and wobbling.
“Traffic lights are also out at Coffin Corner/ Shottendane Road and a small tree is down in Nash Road.
“It’s absolutely horrendous here – winds are at least 50 mph – I’m being battered and blown literally off my feet and have cuts on my hands from the sand and shell fragments blowing so hard in Margate.”
The fencing at the Pleasurama site in Ramsgate is also down and Alland Grange Lane was blocked by a fallen tree but is now open again. Furniture from the Sands Hotel in Margate has also blown in to traffic on Marine Drive.
There are also reports of roof damage at Westwood’s Mountain Warehouse store and fire crews have closed off Tothill Street in Minster.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service said: “Due to high winds, we have received a large number of calls regarding fallen trees.
“If you need to report a fallen tree please contact the appropriate agency for your area. Kent County Council, Medway Council or the Highways Agency. “
The winds are also thought to be responsible for an isle wide power cut. Some homes have now had power restored.
Across Kent Southeastern trains has imposed 50mph speed restriction on all lines. Trees are down on the line between Canterbury and Ashford and Eurostar is running up to 2 hrs later than advertised.