STORM Ciara battered Dorset yesterday causing power cuts and bringing down trees across the county.

There were delays on the roads and railways and flood warnings were in place across several coastal regions.

There were dramatic scenes at Portland Bill as one thrillseeker tried to walk across to Pulpit Rock despite waves crashing around him.

A resident who watched the incident said: “I was thinking - what is he doing? All it takes is for one wave to go over the rock and he is a goner.

“It’s not the first time something like that has happened.”

Dorset Echo:

  • A man was seen taking pictures at Pulpit Rock   Picture: KRISTIAN CORLETT

Passer-by Kristian Corlett also saw the man and says his ‘heart was in his mouth’ when the large wave engulfed the rock while the man was stood on it.

Mr Corlett wants to share the photos to raise awareness about how dangerous and unpredictable the sea can be, and how risky it is to take pictures during a storm.

“We couldn't believe our eyes when we saw him walk along taking photos, said Mr Corlett. “My heart was in my mouth. It was windy and the wind was pushing us around."

“The photos show how dangerous it was. I hope he's ok.”

Dorset Council has urged members of the public not to wave watch or take storm selfies.

Dorset Echo:

  • A huge wave crashed againt Pulpit Rock   Picture: KRISTIAN CORLETT

Elsewhere, a young couple had a lucky escape when a large tree crashed onto their car.

A person who witnessed the aftermath said: "A huge tree fell on a car as it was driving down Huntick road in Lytchett Matravers.

"The young couple who were driving back to London after preparing for their wedding at a local church were lucky to be alive as it hit the bonnet of their car."

Meanwhile, more than 700 homes were left without power in West Dorset.

A resident in Uploders said that power went off at about 11.30am.

Western Power Distribution, the electricity provider, said a total of 714 homes in the area had been affected.

But the issue was reportedly fixed by 1.30pm.

Scottish and Southern Electric Network (SSEN), which provides power for homes in South and East Dorset, said around 170 customers had been left without power due to Storm Ciara.

He said: “We’d like to apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused, and thank them for their patience as our engineers work to restore power as quickly as possible.”

Firefighters were called to Dorset County Hospital after the storm caused damage to a roof. 

Fallen trees caused disruption to travel across the county. A fallen tree on Westleaze road near The Sun Inn, Charminster led to the road being closed both ways, with police and firefighters called to the scene.

The A37 was also blocked due to a fallen tree at the end of the dual carriageway near to Charminster.

The incident happened on the Stratton side.

Motorists were reportedly getting past in 4x4s and SUVs by using the footpath.

The A352 was also blocked due to a fallen tree from Winterborne Came to Whitcombe causing a heavy build up of traffic.

Similarly the A354 Eastbound was blocked at Milborne St Andrew. The incident happened just past the Royal Oak pub and affected traffic heading from the A35 towards Blandford Forum.

In Sturminster Newton, a road was blocked due to another fallen tree.

The incident took place on Bath Road, which was blocked between New Street and B3091 Old Market Hill as a result.

A fallen tree also brought trains to a standstill between Fareham and Southampton Centre on South Western Railway.

And the adverse weather conditions meant that trains had to travel at a maximum of 50mph in the region.

There were reports of an accident on the A37 near the Saxon Arms turn-off which led to slow traffic.

To the east of the county, the Sandbanks Ferry was suspended due to the storm and the company which owns the ferry said it would resume services as soon as it was safe to do so.

In Wareham, Monkey World was closed for the day. A park spokesman said: “Due to high winds and the forecast for Storm Ciara, Monkey World will be closed to the public on Sunday, February 9.

“Thank you for your understanding and apologies for any inconvenience.”

The coastguard issued warnings to people to take care over the weekend when taking pictures.

A spokesman for Lyme Regis Coastguard said: “With Storm Ciara on its way over the weekend. We ask that you take care near the coast.

“High winds and tides can be very dangerous, please don’t take risks just for a picture.

“Always stay a safe distance away and keep your family safe too.”

The highways team from Dorset Council and the Environment Agency were also monitoring Portland Beach Road throughout the day.

There were also flood warnings in place for the whole of the west Dorset coast, but particularly focused at Lyme Regis, West Bay and Chiswell.