THE Dorset weather taskforce is advising people across the county to be prepared for the next storm.

The multi-agency group is urging residents to secure their property to prevent winds ripping items up and causing more damage.

The Environment Agency and the Met Office are warning that high winds and waves coupled with heavy rainfall are due to hit the county tomorrow and over the weekend.

There is a possible risk to life with coastal defences depleted and the prospect for river flooding due to the continuing stormy weather.

Simon Parker, Dorset County Council’s emergency planning officer 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.”

Residents can check the flood risk for their local area and if necessary take steps to protect valuable items left at home. They can check flood warnings at or the Environment Agency’s live flood warning map at The agencies working with Dorset County Council include the Environment Agency, town, parish, district and borough councils, the NHS, Highways Agency, utility companies and the emergency services.

People are being warned that some of the debris strewn on beaches can be dangerous. A number of flares have been discovered and the advice is for anyone finding these to call the emergency services on 999.

People are also being advised to take extra care along cliffs and beaches. Landslides often take place after wet weather as there is a delay in the rainwater falling and soaking into the ground. With the continuing wet weather more landslides are expected.

Simon Parker continued: “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 so extra vigilance is needed. People who put themselves in danger are also putting the rescuers in danger too. I urge people to comply with warning signs and officials’ advice.”