EVENTS in the New Forest and Christchurch are preparing for wild weather as the Met Office issued warnings of rain and wind for tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday.
The lowest-level yellow alert is for heavy rain all day tomorrow across almost the entire country, plus heavy winds along the south-west coast.
That is set to be followed by more strong winds in the south throughout Saturday, potentially affecting transport and causing big waves on the coast.
Weekend celebrations hoping to miss the worst of the weather include the Lymington Seafood Festival and the Ellingham Show, which both take place on Saturday.
The two-day seafood festival said it was closely monitoring the conditions and preparing for gusty wind on its opening day in the Bath Road recreation ground, with calmer weather to follow on Sunday.
Organiser Richard Nowell said: “As responsible event organisers, our first priority is to ensure the public’s safety which will always inform any final decision-making. But at the moment we are making preparations for a great, if a little blustery, weekend.
“We are in constant communication with stallholders and working with them on the safety of their retail structures, providing support and advice. All are experienced, reputable traders and as such have professional set-ups able to withstand the current weather conditions.
“Saturday looks the more challenging day, but importantly the sun is set to be shining.”
He urged visitors to look out for updates online at www.lymingstonseafoodfestival.co.uk or on social media via @lymingtonseafoodfestival.
A spokesperson for the Ellingham Show said: “We’re still getting everything ready to go ahead with the show this Saturday. But of course our first priority is the safety and welfare of all involved.
“We are watching the weather very carefully and we’d ask all participants and show visitors to keep an eye on our website www.ellinghamshow.co.uk.”
For tomorrow, the Met Office predicted a band of heavy rain with potentially intense bursts moving northwards from tonight (Thursday), with some places seeing up to 30mm in just a few hours. Some locations will suffer thunderstorms in its wake.
Strong winds were also forecast for the south-west coast, including the New Forest and Christchurch.
The Met Office said there was a “small chance” homes and businesses will be flooded and bus and train services delayed. There could be difficult driving conditions, it added.
For Saturday, it said: “Unseasonably strong south-westerly winds are expected to cause some disruption, with gusts over 40mph quite widely inland.
“Gusts over 50mph are possible across parts of central and south-eastern England, particularly in association with showers.”
Effects might include large waves and loss of power, it added, with transport likely to be affected and fallen trees possible.
It warned there could also be “minor damage to temporary structures, with some outdoor events and activities potentially affected”.