FLOOD alerts have been issued for communities across the New Forest as heavy rain raises river levels throughout the district.
The Environment Agency has highlighted six main affected areas as days of heavy rain along the south coast are predicted to last into Sunday by the Met Office, which yesterday published its own weather warnings.
A flood warning – the second most serious category – was declared yesterday (Wednesday) for the lower Avon between Ringwood and Christchurch with flooding of nearby properties, roads and farmland expected.
Areas most at risk are Bickerley, Ringwood and the B3347 from Christchurch to Stony Lane.
The warning said: “Levels can rise very quickly in response to heavy rainfall. River and groundwater levels in this area can be expected to remain high for several days.
“Please avoid using bridges over local watercourses, and can owners with property flood resilience equipment install it now.”
On the lower Avon’s parallel tributaries to the east, residents were urged to be prepared under less serious flood alerts.
Flooding forced the closure at about 8am this morning of the A36 northbound at the A3090 West Wellow services roundabout, with congestion reported.
Similar alerts were made for the length of the Lymington River this morning, with rising waters likely to flood gardens at Balmer Lawn Road in Brockenhurst. Lymington was unlikely to suffer any serious impact.
Alerts are also in place for Bartley Water in Ashurst, Totton and Eling, with 26mm of rain recorded in nearby Lyndhurst within 10 hours. The impact is likely to be limited to flooding of roads, gardens and possibly homes at Woodlands.
The Environment Agency said: “We will keep the river free of reported blockages and will continue to monitor water levels. Please take action to ensure that you can protect your property.”
An alert was also called for the River Blackwater in the north of the Forest, as well as the middle Avon and tributaries north of Ringwood.
As reported in the A&T, the separate yellow warning of heavy rain by the Met Office – the lowest category – warned of disruption to roads and rail until Sunday, with possible property flooding.