The Met Office has warned of high winds today which will combine with large waves to bring the risk of coastal flooding.

A spokesperson added: “Winds will gust to 60mph or so on coasts, and locally to 70mph, but waves will be larger than usually associated with this strength.

“The public should be aware of the dangers of waves crashing onshore and over topping shore lines and sea fronts.”

Dorchester weather watcher John Oliver said that for the first four days of the New Year he recorded 69 millimetres of rain – half the average rainfall for the whole of January.

He added: “We had 35 millimetres of rain, close to an inch and a half within a 12-hour period, from 3am Saturday to 2pm that afternoon. There were also winds of up to 50mph on Friday evening.

“Even light amounts of rain now could cause problems because river and stream levels across Dorset are already very high.”