DORSET is preparing to batten down the hatches as further storms sweep in.

Gale force winds and heavy rain are forecast to rage across the county for the next 48 hours.

The Met Office has issued an amber weather warning for heavy rain which will be in force until late tomorrow.

The latest deluge comes less than two days after Weymouth and Portland were hit by the worst storms in 30 years.

The Environment Agency urged residents to tie down wheelie bins and move cars away from potential flood risk areas as the area was put on flood warning.

Emergency workers were on scene yesterday clearing up and handing out 300 more sandbags.

A further flood warning was issued for the River Wey from Upwey to Weymouth and for Chiswell last night.

Dorset’s multi-agency weather taskforce including Dorset County Council, emergency services, the Met Office and Environment Agency, is urging people to be prepared for the next storm.

The taskforce said there was a possible risk to life with coastal defences depleted and the prospect for river flooding.

DCC’s emergency planning officer Simon Parker said: “When a severe weather warning is issued it means that your day will be different. Personal preparations ahead of these warnings are essential, whether it’s getting ready for floods or changing travel plans.

“A number of agencies are working together to ensure people are informed of the dangers and plans are in place if evacuations are needed.

“Local residents can help by ensuring their properties are protected, garden furniture secured and that any drainage ditches are clear. People, their cars and possessions should be moved to a safe or higher location.”

He added: “We have had a number of instances of people walking through floodwater and getting too close while wave watching.

“Although the sights are fascinating and the water looks easy to navigate situations change very quickly. Swollen rivers can easily burst their banks.

“People who put themselves in danger are also putting the rescuers in danger too.”

Keeping a close eye on the weather

GUESTHOUSE owners close to Alexandra Gardens on Weymouth seafront told how they would be keeping an eye on the weather this weekend.

Joint owners of the Beaufort Guesthouse, Gordon and Margaret Standish, said: “We have been here eight years and have never seen the weather as bad as this.

“If the wind starts in an easterly direction then this is likely to make the waves and wind more dangerous along the Esplanade.

“We keep an eye on the weather regularly and we’re hoping for a really good summer if this is the terrible weather we’ve had to put up with so far.”

A clean-up of Weymouth beach is underway with council workers clearing away debris including metal poles, large stones and pipes.

A spokesman for Dorset County Council said: “Flares have been discovered and the advice is for anyone finding these to call the emergency services.”

Mark Cole, owner of the Bourneville Hotel, added that waves had washed up the side of the beach wall and in the three years he had been on the Esplanade he had never seen weather like it.

He said: “I’m worried that if this weekend the wind moves easterly and in a different direction guesthouses could suffer some damage.”

COASTGUARDS are urging people to be extra vigilant and take care in the storms.

During the last storms, Portland Bill coastguard rescue officers helped after Chesil Beach was breached.

Coastguards said that gale force winds and rain are expected for the next 48 hours and high winds could even increase to storm force 10 at times over the next few days.

Coastguards are urging people to be vigilant and stay away from the danger areas including sea walls and beaches.

A spokesman for Portland Coastguard, said: “It’s nice to take pictures but as long as it’s at a safe distance and from high ground.”