Update: Trees uprooted, harbours on flood alert and driving conditions hazardous as gales sweep in (From Dorset Echo)
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Gale warnings issued for Dorset
DORSET was battered by gale-force winds and heavy rain last night.
Trees came down on roads and railways and driving conditions were horrendous in parts of the county.
Trains on the Weymouth-Waterloo line were disrupted yesterday evening when a train hit a fallen tree near Hinton Admiral station on the edge of the New Forest. It came after a tree held up another train in the same area.
South West Trains' 5.35pm Waterloo-Weymouth service was held up at Hinton Admiral due to a fallen tree but soon after that blockage had been removed and the train cleared to go, the 6.05pm Waterloo-Weymouth behind it hit another tree in the same area.
It is understood the driver tried to clear the tree himself but it was too large and on-call tree surgeons were alerted.
It happened about 8pm and the line between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth was closed while the train was checked and the tree removed. The train was on the move again at 10pm.
South West Trains said no-one was hurt. The train suffered minor damage and had to be checked by engineers before it could move again.
On other lines in Dorset yesterday, a Waterloo-Exter service was held up at Sherborne due to a fallen tree.
On the roads, a tree down in Benville Lane in West Chelborough, near Evershot, blocked the Oak Lane junction this morning. Boyne’s Lane in Iwerne Minster near Blandford was closed because of branches hanging down on the road.
The A348 Ringwood Road, Bournemouth also closed earlier in both directions between Bear Cross Roundabout and Haskin’s Garden Centre because of a fallen tree.
Officers put a diversion in place via the A31 and Canford Bottom.
The Environment Agency issued flood warnings for West Bay and Lyme Regis harbours. Other parts of Dorset are on flood alert.
North of Dorchester, Westleaze in Charminster was also blocked due to flooding and Long Street in Cerne Abbas due to a fallen tree and power cables.
The B3162 in Broadwindsor was partially blocked in both directions near the West Street junction because of a fallen tree.
Earlier yesterday, the large Christmas tree in Broad Street, Lyme Regis, was blown over by high winds. Firefighters were called in due to electricity risks. Crews made it safe and helped with lowering the tree to the ground.
Southern Electric says a handful of customers are without power in an area around Old Sherborne Road, north of Dorchester. Engineers are due on site around 9pm to asses the problem and restore power.
Over in Purbeck, Organford Road in Holton Heath was blocked earlier in both directions because of an accident.
The signs warning of high winds on the A35 between Dorchester and Bridport are said to be out of action. Drivers are warned to take care at the exposed spots on this road.
Portland Coastguard said it was blowing force 8-9 off the coast yesterday evening with force 10 expected later.
Earlier in the day, the Highways Agency advised road users to be cautious as strong gales and heavy rain were expected in the South West.
The Agency issued a severe weather alert for gales, warning road users in both regions that strong winds of up to 65mph combined with heavy rain, will make driving conditions difficult along the most southern routes of the South West from 4pm until 11pm.
Drivers of vulnerable vehicles are particularly advised to avoid the the A35 from Long Bredy to Bridport.
Road users driving high-sided vehicles, riding motorcycles or towing any kind of trailer are being urged to check traffic and weather conditions before setting out on journeys and to heed any advice such as speed restrictions once they are on the strategic road network.
Met Office forecasters based in the Agency's National Traffic Operations Centre are predicting southerly winds will increase to 50mph across most of the network late this afternoon, reaching between 60 and 65 mph along the most southern routes in the South West and South East.
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