Council on ‘full alert’ for floods as weekend rain forecast

New Forest floods
Flooding on the A337 at in Brockenhurst in 2016 (Photo: archive image)

COUNCIL highways teams are on “full alert” as heavy rain is forecast for the south this weekend.


With a Met Office yellow weather warning in force for Saturday and Sunday across the south coast, including the New Forest and Christchurch, Hampshire County Council said its flood management teams were on standby.

It urged residents to make sure their drains and ditches were clear to protect roads from being submerged from the bad weather.

As reported in the A&T, the Environment Agency has issued warnings of rising water levels on local rivers, with Barrack Road and Willow Way in Christchurch likely to be flooded today (Friday).

At Milford New Forest District Council closed a section of footpath at Hordle Cliff as a safety precaution after inspections identified movement in the lower cliff as a result of the recent rainfall.

NFDC said its coastal team will continue to monitor the area and expected closure to last into the new year. Beach hut owners are being contacted directly as access to some huts will be restricted.

The crack in the footpath at Hordle Cliff, Milford, was blamed on heavy rain

Cllr Rob Humby, HCC deputy leader and cabinet member for economy, transport and environment, said: “We’ve already had an exceptionally wet autumn, and groundwater levels have been rising as a consequence.

“This means some areas will therefore be more vulnerable to surface water flooding. Similarly, strengthening winds combined with expected high tides in coastal areas will affect areas most vulnerable to tidal flooding.

“Our highways teams are ready with extra gully crews and emergency gangs on standby to help keep the roads clear of surface water.

“Heavily saturated ground means that trees are more susceptible to fall in strong winds or gusts so we will have tree crews available as well should wind speeds increase.”

HCC maintains about 60,000 gullies and 4,600 catchpits, which are designed to stop silt and debris clogging up the drainage system.

Cllr Humby added: “This can be a busy time of year for some people, but I would ask that anyone setting out on a journey to please be prepared, drive according to the conditions and check the weather forecast before they head off.”

The Met Office weather warning for the weekend is for up to 30mm in some places along the south coast which, although not particularly heavy, could cause flooding on already saturated ground.