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Region counts cost of flooding as bad weather set to continue
PEOPLE in Dorset are mopping up after yet another round of severe wind and rain – but the wild weather is not over yet.
A church and homes in Charminster became flooded over the weekend and residents left their homes in Chiswell on Portland amid severe weather warnings on Friday evening.
And there’s no end in sight as further extreme conditions are forecast today for the South West, including a Met Office amber weather warning for high winds.
A combination of high tides caused by flooding over the weekend, together with gale force south westerly winds will increase the risk of coastal flooding even further over the next few days, says the Environment Agency.
Flood alerts remained in place for Preston Beach Road and Chiswell together with rivers and streams throughout Weymouth and West Dorset, where the Environment Agency warned levels would remain high for several days.
Emergency services continued to urge residents not to investigate fierce waves in coastal areas and warn motorists of hazardous conditions including the risks of driving through floodwater.
Condor Ferries cancelled all its sailing services on Sunday and today due to the weather while train services mostly returned back to normal.
Rain and wind also decimated the football programme with Weymouth, Dorchester Town and Bridport falling victim to the weather.
All Dorset Premier League games and Dorset League matches were also postponed.
Dorset County Council’s emergency planning department have been working closely with the Environment Agency, Dorset Police, Dorset Fire and Rescue Service and other agencies throughout the recent weather chaos.
County planning officer Simon Parker thanked county council staff who have been working for 11 days straight to cope with the extreme weather, some on a voluntary basis.
He said: “We have had staff working all weekend and highways and emergency planning staff have responded to flooding incidents across the whole of the county.
“On Saturday we responded to lots of flooding problems including road closures and diversions across Dorset.
“On Sunday the groundwater on roads and fields became more of a problem and we responded to a lot of flooded properties across the county, particularly in north Dorset.
“The groundwater left by all the heavy rain meant that the ground could not absorb anymore moisture and so water began filtering through to streams and rivers, which has caused further problems.
“We expect the remaining groundwater and flooded properties to be a problem for quite some time.
“The flood alerts remained on Sunday evening for Chiswell and Preston Beach Road in Weymouth and dependent on weather conditions the road could shut once again.
“We would urge residents across the county to be more pro-active in their communities, helping out neighbours and so on during this bad weather.”
The Met Office gave an amber weather warning for Dorset overnight yesterday with a significant weather front moving through the county.
A total of 17 flood warnings and 21 flood alerts were in operation with residents being warned the situation in Dorset was critical. Ground water and river levels are already at saturation point and more rain is expected through to Wednesday.
Homeowners and business owners were being advised to take remedial action to protect their property from flooding.
The A354 between Blandford and Salisbury was closed yesterday while authorities were due to decide last night whether to close Preston Beach Road at 9pm, with high tides expected to cause flooding.
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