Residents flee homes after storm warnings

Dorset Echo: Residents flee homes after storm warnings Residents flee homes after storm warnings

PEOPLE left their homes amid severe weather warnings last night.

Dorset was braced for another battering this weekend following days of storms and bad weather.

Two severe flood warnings were put in place by the Environment Agency for Weymouth and Portland at high tide yesterday, one at Chiswell and one at Preston Beach Road.

This is the most extreme flood warning available with people urged to beware of severe flooding and danger to life.

Nicola Southen, of Chiswell, and her family evacuated their home ahead of severe weather.

She said: "We’ve lived here 13 years and had loads of flood warnings but never had the police and Environment Agency coming round with sandbags and warnings.

“We just want to be safe especially because of the kids and the dogs. We have taken all our electrical items upstairs."

Debby Cocking and her son Robert were preparing to leave their house when the worst of the weather hit.

She said: "There is nothing you can do as long as everyone is safe and no one killed."

The seafront at Weymouth was closed for several hours around high tides yesterday morning and evening and leaflets were delivered and an evacuation centre prepared at the Portland Heights Hotel in case of flooding at Chiswell.

However, a siren that would have activated the evacuation procedure was not sounded and residents were able to stay in their homes.

The causeway between Portland and Wyke Regis was temporarily closed last night and continues to be monitored by the Environment Agency.

The Met Office has issued a further weather warning for tomorrrow with up to 40mm of rain forecast in some places.

A spokesman said: “Outbreaks of rain, heavy at times, will affect the South West on Sunday.

“Quite widespread accumulations of 10-20 mm are then likely with locally in excess of 40 mm possible over some higher ground.

“This additional rainfall, following the recent wet weather, means that the public should be aware of an increased risk of both surface water and river flooding as well as disruption to transport.”

Dorset County Council’s emergency planning department have been working closely with the Environment Agency, Dorset Police and Dorset Fire and Rescue and other agencies throughout the flooding chaos.

County planning officer Simon Parker paid tribute to county council staff who have been working throughout the Christmas and New Year period to cope with extreme weather, some on a voluntary basis.

He said: "We have a lot of staff who have really gone the extra mile."

Mr Parker added that 1,500 sandbags are in place to be used if needed.

Condor cancelled all ferry services due to the weather.

Commercial Road was also flooded as waters rose in the harbour and people were urged to avoid the area.

Other areas affected by the weather included the West Stafford bypass and the A352 Dorchester Road at East Burton, which were both flooded.

The A35 at Stinsford was blocked after a tree fell across the road.

In Bournemouth, residents of Iford Bridge Home Park as emergency services warned of dangerous flood levels.

Sing tides in Poole Harbour forced police to close sections of Shore Road yesterday after water broke over the sea wall and flooded the highway.

n For the latest on travel and weather news throughout the weekend, visit www.dorsetecho.co.uk

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