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Stormy conditions pummel West Bay
STORM force winds whipped into West Dorset as the wild winter weather resumed its assault.
Gales of 70mph were reported as trees crashed on to roads and Dorset Police put out a warning for people not to travel unless it was vital.
Waves at West Bay threw up shingle with such force that cars parked well away from the beach had windows smashed.
The Environment Agency issued a flood warning for West Bay Harbour for high tide yesterday afternoon.
The Old Shipyard facing the sea at West Bay had part of its roof ripped away and arcing power cables meant a power cut for some households.
Fallen trees blocked roads on the approach to Netherbury and at Stoke Abbott flying dustbins and debris caused hazardous driving conditions.
Steve Tucker from Ellipse Café in West Bay said: “Nothing has flooded yet but we have some really, really strong winds, though I can’t see any damage anywhere yet.
“There are some big waves coming in but nowhere near as bad as we have had but it is high tide later on and they are smashing up over the pier already.”
Fallen trees blocked roads on the approach to Netherbury and at Stoke Abbott and flying dustbins and debris caused hazardous driving conditions across the west of the county.
Police closed the A35 between Bridport and Dorchester to high-sided vehicles while the winds were at their height after an HGV driver had a luck escape as his vehicle was blown over.
The A35 at Winterbourne Abbas was partly blocked after a van blew on to its side. A chimney was blown off a property on the High Street at Burton Bradstock and an area of the road was coned off while debris was removed.
Following the widespread flooding in neighbouring counties, two Beaminster women have made a mercy dash to Somerset with relief for flood victims.
After Kerry Gould, pictured top, and Rachel Hayball, below, made their appeal for donations to help the Flooding on the Levels Action Group (Flag), they were inundated with contributions.
Kerry, who used to live near Langport in Somerset and still has friends there, said she just wanted to do something to help – and apparently so do a lot of other West Dorset people.
She said: “I am just so proud of the people here.
“We started last Wednesday and said let’s see if we can fill up Rachel’s 4x4 vehicle and take it up with what was needed, which was food and drink and clothes.
“By Thursday we had outgrown her 4x4.
“So Frampton removals said they would donate a vehicle and a driver and a helper to come up for the day.”
On Sunday they organised a drop-off at Morrisons supermarket through Facebook.
Kerry said: “By the time we got down there, there was already a queue and they just didn’t stop coming.
“It was amazing.
“When we went up to Somerset on Monday it was amazing to see the support they were getting but I was so, so proud of everybody down here – businesses that had taken notice and donated whatever they could.
“And there are so many more people who are still contacting us asking where they can send what they have, it is insane.”
Kerry flood victims were having to be realistic about what they needed with a possible nine-month wait before they were back in their homes.
She said the need now was to raise money for Flag funds.
She added: “There is a central fund now which has raised about £175,000 in the past two weeks.
“That is where efforts are being concentrated.”
So Kerry and Rachel are planning a huge jumble sale, probably in Bridport, to sell off donations to raise money for the fund.
Some schools are also getting involved and have agreed to hold non uniform days.
Kerry said: “They are getting no government help at the moment because there isn’t any and now with the Thames as well, communities are really having to pull together to make the difference.”
Donations can also be made direct to the fund at somersetcf.org.uk.
Flag also has a Facebook page.