THE New Forest and Christchurch have been included in a national weather warning issued by the Met Office for strong winds of up to 80mph as Storm Brendan moves in.
Stormy weather is forecast in the west of the country today (Monday) from about 10am to midnight, and again tomorrow across the whole of England for 12 hours from about midday, joined by heavy rain on the south-east coast tomorrow and Wednesday.
The lowest-level yellow warnings are for delays to some road, rail, air and ferry transport. Coastal routes and communities are likely to be affected by spray and large waves. There could also be a short-term loss of power and other services in some areas.
Today’s forecast said: “An area of very strong winds will move eastwards across the UK through Monday, clearing eastwards overnight.
“The strongest winds are expected around exposed coasts and hills. Here gusts of 60-70mph are likely, with a few sites perhaps seeing gusts to 80 mph – especially around Irish Sea coasts and around the west coast of Scotland where the strongest winds are most likely.
“Gusts will be lower inland with 45-55mph likely. A narrow band of squally, heavy rain moving east, accompanying the strongest winds, may be an additional hazard.”
Today the Environment Agency also issued a low-level ‘be prepared’ flood alert for Christchurch harbour and tidal stretches of the Lower Stour and Avon, as a result of high tide at about 11am.
It warned people to stay away from harbourside promenades and paths, with conditions likely to last two to four hours either side of high water. A spokesperson said: “We are closely monitoring the situation. Our incident response staff are closing flood gates.”
Tomorrow’s weather is expected to be similar with south-westerly winds set to strengthen across much of England and Wales during the afternoon and evening.
The Met Office said: “Gusts of 40-50mph are expected quite widely inland, with exposed coasts and hills having gusts of around 60mph, perhaps locally 70mph.
“Heavy rain may be an additional hazard in places. Winds will ease from the west during Tuesday night.”
Rain tomorrow and Wednesday is expected to be up to perhaps 40mm in some places, with localised flooding possible from water falling on already saturated ground.
Advice for motorists is to reduce speeds and increase the space between the vehicle ahead. Do not try to ford flooded roads, it added, and give more room to vulnerable road-users such as riders on bicycles or motorbikes.
Residents have also been advised to sign up to the Environment Agency’s flood alert system
Sarah Cook, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, said: “Strong winds and high tides could lead to large waves and localised flooding along parts of the south coast of England over the coming days.
“We are advising people to sign up for flood warnings and to take extra care when walking along the coast – large waves can be dangerous.
“There is also an ongoing risk of groundwater flooding in parts of southern England following December’s above average rainfall. We are advising local communities in these areas to remain vigilant to the risks of flooding.”
This story was amended on 13th January after the Met Office updated its forecasts