WEST Dorset was on high alert again today as the continued stormy conditions were expected to cause more flooding.
Both West Bay and Lyme Regis seafront were battered by gale-force winds and high tides this morning.
Numerous flood warnings are in place for rivers and harbours. Agencies were particularly monitoring West Bay harbour, Lyme Regis harbour, Weymouth Esplanade, Chiswell on Portland with all areas said to be ‘at risk’.
People are being urged to stay away from the coast and resist the urge to ‘wave watch’.
Simon Miles from Lyme Bay RIB Charter was down at West Bay earlier this morning. He said: “The wind was really howling at about 5am, but then started to die down before picking up again at 9am.
“Some of the pathways were flooded, but it was a good time to happen that early in the morning really.”
Both the A352 Dorchester Road between the Burton Road junction and the East Knighton Lane junction and the West Stafford bypass are also closed due to flooding.
Dorset Police and other agencies urged residents to prepare for the adverse weather and advised that ‘extreme care’ be taken in coastal areas.
A spokesman for the Met Office said: “Tides will be very high, and the public should be aware of the risks of large waves and coastal flooding.”
It follows flooding misery which has seen Dorset battered over Christmas and into the new year.
More heavy rain and high winds will sweep across Dorset today as the Met Office issued a yellow weather warning. Gale force 8-10 winds were expected to hit the South West coast.
In preparation for the latest extreme weather, Dorset County Council is urging motorists to take care on the roads.
In North Dorset, firefighters had to rescue a woman from her car, after she became trapped in floodwater near Marnhull on Wednesday evening. On the same night, rescuers worked in appalling weather conditions as they searched for a man who is believed to have fallen into the River Stour near Iford Bridge, Christchurch. A tree hanging above the railway line at Sway in the New Forest led to disruption on the Weymouth-Waterloo line yesterday.
Looking ahead, there are expected to be wide widespread problems on the roads, when many people return to work on Monday after the Christmas break, following more heavy rain which is likely to hit Dorset on Sunday.
Road users are being advised to check the weather forecast and road conditions before travelling today as sudden haul storms, strong winds and heavy rain continue to make driving conditions difficult.
DCC highways winter service group manager Martin Hill urged motorists to heed all road closure signs, and plan their journeys in advance.
He said: “We have had a number of instances over the holidays where people have ignored these signs, or even removed them, and driven into heavily flooded areas.
“Even if they don’t damage their vehicles, the waves they make while going through the water can end up washing into people’s gardens and even their properties.”
He added: “Signs are there for a reason. People need to allow more time for their journeys at the moment, especially on Sunday and Monday, and find alternative routes to avoid flooded areas.”
South West Flood Executive at the Environment Agency Emma Baker said: “We are expecting coastal flooding from the early hours of Friday and into the weekend.
“We’d ask everyone to keep themselves informed about the latest situation and to keep themselves safe by keeping away from seafronts and resisting the urge to wave watch.”