FLOOD alerts have been issued for Beaulieu, Lymington, Milford and Christchurch this morning (Wednesday) by the Environment Agency.
Some of the most serious flooding was forecast in Beaulieu 30 minutes either side of the 10.56am high tide, due to the effects of the former Storm Sebastian in the Atlantic.
The red alert said: “For 30 minutes either side of high water, Palace Lane and the B3056 north of the Mill Pond will flood. Access to the village will be temporarily difficult.
“On the downstream side of the pond, the Mill House and other gardens and outbuildings will be affected.”
It added: “We continue to monitor the forecast. To reduce flood risk to property, please drive slowly through Beaulieu, avoiding it completely if possible.”
The level would be nearly half a metre higher than usual, with the water 4.35 metres above the low tide.
An earlier red alert was issued for Christchurch Harbour as a result of high spring tides and low pressure at around 9:39am. Flooding was possible, it said, for Willow Way and areas of Stanpit and Mudeford.
“Flooding to roads and property is possible and may apply two to four hours either side of the high tides. We are closely monitoring the situation. Our incident response staff are checking defences and closing gates,” it said.
Lymington was issued an orange alert, with warnings for the footpath near the Ship Inn pub at Town Quay, and Saltgrass Lane.
In Milford High Street, near the Smugglers Inn pub, the river will increase with the tide and may rise close to the top of the river bank. Property flooding is not expected.
Tidal defence gates at Lymington and Keyhaven were due to be closed two hours either side of high water. All private defence gates should be closed, the Environment Agency said.
There were also orange flood alerts for the Avon valley running south from Ringwood, and along the New Forest coast from Beaulieu to the Waterside and Totton, and along the latter sections of the River Test and Bartley Water.
Tide levels were likely to remain high into the weekend for some areas but further flood alerts were unlikely, it said.
This week the agency also announced that residents on the Vodafone mobile network who are at risk of flooding in Hampshire, West Sussex and the Isle of Wight may be receiving a text alert that they have been automatically signed up to free flood warnings, with a choice to opt out.
Once registered, people will receive a message directly to their mobile if a flood warning is issued for their area in the future – giving them advice and time to prepare.
Gordon Wilson, area flood risk manager at the Environment Agency, said: “Being registered for flood warnings can give people vital advance notice of flooding and crucial time to prepare.”
For more information go to flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/what-to-do-in-a-flood.
To sign up for free flood warnings go to www.gov.uk/sign-up-for-flood-warnings.