WEST Dorset stood up to the latest the weather could throw at it yesterday.

There were fears some residents in West Bay would need to be evacuated but the tide turned just in time.

The coast was battered, trees came down and roads were shut, but the area appeared to escape without major catastrophe.

Bridport Police Inspector Mike Darby said: “Our officers have been busy around West Bay, Charmouth and Lyme Regis.

“Clearly it has been impacting every coastal area.

“We had to close the Esplanade in West Bay on Wednesday morning.

“There were lots of people there taking photographs but we needed to keep people back from the danger areas.

“We had fears we were going to have to evacuate people from West Bay in the morning but luckily when it was looking like it was dangerously close, the tide turned.”

The road into West Bay was closed by a huge fallen tree after it crashed across the road at the Haddon House Hotel overnight.

Three of the trees along the border of the car park were cut down and the road was cleared during yesterday morning.

Bridport town surveyor Daryl Chambers said the council team had been responding to as many requests for assistance as they could.

He said: “We have given out all our sandbags and more are on the way. We have left some in the harbourmaster's yard in case they are needed.

“The biggest job has been dealing with damaged or fallen trees and we were called to half a dozen or more.”

Dorset police said the A35 was closed to all high-sided vehicles after one lane of the east bound carriageway near Askerswell was closed when a lorry overturned.

The lorry blew over close to where the carriageway goes from two lanes to one.

The driver had minor injuries.

A fallen tree also closed Abbotsbury Sub tropical gardens.

West Bay harbourmaster James Radcliffe said: “I don't think it was expected to be this severe.

“The Environment Agency didn't issue a severe warning until 8 o'clock the night before, which for us is quite late.

“To my knowledge we have not had a severe weather warning down here before.

“We have not had too much damage, some to people's property walls and some paving slabs have been washed away.

“It's more debris than anything. The benches got washed off the Esplanade.

“The majority of people have been behaving themselves but again there are always one or two that decide they are above it all, unfortunately.

“There are enough warnings out there by now people should know to stay away.”

West Bay coastguard station chief Jamie Staple said the team had been put on alert several times.

He said: “We have been very lucky. The flood defences they put in down at West Bay and the lockable flood gates on the inner ring has made a huge difference “However there are bigger storms coming at the weekend.”

The coastguards were put on alert but not called out.

Drivers say road conditions have been horrendous, with lots of standing water and motorists not slowing down, cutting visibility.