- in Environment
Flooding is causing travel disruption across the south east of England after heavy rain overnight.
The M23 was closed between junctions 10 and 11 in both directions in West Sussex, but has now reopened.
On the railways, Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express passengers have been advised not to travel, with disruption on the Brighton mainline.
Southeastern said there were no trains between Strood and Maidstone West, and between Tunbridge Wells and Hastings.
Motorist Ellis Hart was on his way to a work Christmas meal, but missed it when he got stuck in the M23 backlog for more than two hours.
The 26-year-old stone restorer said: “We were all going for a curry in London, paid for by the boss. It was our Christmas bonus.
“I was looking forward to that, but I’ve missed it now.
“I’m just glad I didn’t bring my three kids with me. I was going to drop them off with my mum on the way.”
Highways England said the stream of water on to the M23 had to been stemmed and pumps were on the scene.
Southeastern posted on its website: “A tree blocking the railway between Strood and Maidstone West means all lines are blocked. Train services running between these stations will be suspended.”
Disruption had been expected until the end of the day, but Southeastern later tweeted that the line would remain closed until Sunday due to the damage and repair work required.
Services through Tonbridge have been disrupted due to a failure of the electricity supply.
A subsequent landslip at Robertsbridge meant there were no trains running between Tunbridge Wells and Hastings, with replacement buses serving the route.
Southeastern said it would be introducing a phased reintroduction of trains on the line in both directions from about 17:00 GMT.
Issues with flooding at Frant had been resolved, the rail company said.
Almost 50mm (2in) of rain fell in some areas in 36 hours, and the Met Office issued severe weather warnings for heavy rain, saying water on roads would cause delays in some areas on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Details of Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express services affected have been posted on Southern’s website.
It said all lines had reopened but services may be cancelled, delayed or revised, with disruption expected until the end of the day.
South Western Railway said all lines between Guildford and Godalming were blocked after a landslip, but the lines had later reopened. Lines were also blocked between Epsom and Ewell West.
Great Western Railway services were also affected.
Gatwick Airport is “running as usual”, but it advised customers to allow extra time for their journeys due to the flooding on the M23 and the disruption to rail services.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service said crews were helping a man who had become stuck after driving through floodwater in Coppins Road, Leigh, near Tonbridge.
“Firefighters in water-safety suits are working to release the man from his vehicle and people are asked to avoid the area due to the floodwater,” a spokesman said.
The service warned drivers: “Floodwater is often deeper than it looks and may be moving quite fast. Your vehicle could be swept away or become stranded.
“If you see a sign to say that the road is closed due to flooding, remember the sign is there for a reason and find an alternative route.”
The Environment Agency has issued flood warnings and alerts across England.
Yellow weather warnings are in place for large parts of the south of England until midday on Sunday.
A Met Office spokesman warned that more rain was “coming from the south through the night and tomorrow”.
In Leatherhead in Surrey horses were left stranded in a flooded field after the River Mole burst its banks.
In Cornwall, the A30 was closed on Thursday due to flooding, with Devon and Cornwall Police declaring a major incident in Hayle.
Met Office meteorologist Mark Wilson said there could be up to 30mm of rain in the south on Saturday, with localised flooding.
The village of Cardinham in Cornwall saw 52mm of rain over 36 hours, while Bastreet Downs got 53mm.
Devon & Cornwall Police said flooding across the force area had made “a number of roads impassable”, and Great Western Railway services between Exeter St Davids and Taunton have been disrupted.
Norfolk and Suffolk Police said roads in both counties had been affected by floodwater.
The Environment Agency has issued about 60 flood warning across England – where flooding is expected – as well as 200 flood alerts, which warn of possible flooding.
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