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Update: Dorset being battered by strong winds and heavy rain
DORSET is experiencing a miserable start to the New Year as storms sweep in from the Atlantic.
The Environment Agency has issued flood alerts for Weymouth Harbour, along the River Wey, and at Preston for high tide this evening. Other flood alerts are in place for West Bay harbour and West Dorset rivers.
In Burton Bradstock residents reported that river levels were high and there was flood water on Burton Road by the sewage works this afternoon.
The Environment Agency is warning coastal communities across the region to remain vigilant as strong winds combine with high tides on Friday and continue into the weekend.
Long-term forecasts suggest Dorset could see rain and showers continuing for the first few weeks of January, bringing a wet and gloomy start to the New Year.
Last night partygoers were confronted with heavy rain showers, but it didn’t seem to dampen the celebratory spirit.
The wild weather has brought down a tree on the A352 near Sherborne. The road was blocked earlier southbound between the Bradford Lane junction in Longburton and the Tiley Knap junction in Middlemarsh.
Drivers heading up the A37 were warned the road was blocked earlier this evening just over the Somerset border near Stoford due to a broken down vehicle and flooding. It is now clear.
The traditional Lyme Regis duck race was cancelled today due to the weather.
But torrential rain and howling winds did not stopping plucky paddlers from Lyme Regis.
The annual New Year tradition, the Lyme Lunge, went ahead and dozens of people dashed into the sea in fancy dress.
Organised by the Lyme Regis Rotary Club, there will also be charity collections during the event.
The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for heavy rain until late this evening.
After last night’s downpour the roads in Dorset have seen a lot of standing water this morning and there is a risk of flooding.
The AA has advised anyone planning on travelling to plan their route carefully and take extra care.
The Puddletown Bypass was flooded in the early hours of the morning and drivers are advised to take care.
There are flood alerts in place today for Weymouth’s rivers, as well as West bay Harbour, the River Piddle and West Dorset rivers and streams.
The Met Office warned that today will see heavy rain, with some areas getting 30mm and a chance of gales up to 50-60mph.
Weymouth weatherman Bob Poots said: “It’s been a very wet December and a very wet year.”
He added that the rainfall this month was double what the area would normally get in December.
The AA has issued warnings to drivers who may be attempting to get home to return to work and the start of the new school term.
A spokesman urged motorists to plan all journeys carefully and check both the weather and travel bulletins before they set out.
Staff at South West Trains have been working around the clock since the first storms hit before Christmas to repair trains and tracks in time for commuters’ return in the New Year.
Teams have cleared more than 140 trees that were blown down by gale-force winds.
Repairs were carried out to sites affected by landslips and flooding.
Engineers have also carried out repairs to trains that were damaged by falling trees.
A spokesman for the train company said: “The huge clear-up operation throughout the Christmas holiday means a full timetable will run on the majority of the network on January 2, with 93 percent of normal services running.”
The wet weather misery looks set to remain throughout January, with rain forecast well into the month.
A spokesman for the Met Office said: “Current indications suggest the unsettled start to January is more likely than not to persist through the middle to latter part of the month.
“This would mean spells of dull, wet and windy weather alternating with brighter but colder and showery periods, including some wintry showers.”
The Environment Agency’s flood line is 0845 988 1188.
Dorset Police has issued the following advice to drivers if they are confronted with severe high winds and heavy rain.
- Not to travel unless you have to;
- Keep your distance from other vehicles;
- Keep your speed down – sudden gusts of wind can blow you off course;
- Leave extra time to get to your destination;
- Show consideration for other motorists, especially when you are confronted with delays and/or blocked roads;
- When visibility is reduced make sure you switch on your headlights.
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