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Heavy rainfall across the New Forest and Christchurch causes flooding as the Environment Agency issues further warnings in areas including Brockenhurst, Boldre, Ringwood, Landford, Ower and Rushington

HEAVY rainfall across the New Forest and Christchurch saw roads flooded and cars abandoned yesterday (Thursday) as well as the closure of a leisure centre.

As reported in the A&T, the Met Office issued a yellow warning for rain, with residents urged not to attempt to walk or drive through floods.

In Brockenhurst, Mitzi Holley (26) snapped a dramatic picture of a taxi trapped in floodwater.

A taxi was trapped in floodwater at Brockenhurst (picture: Mitzi Holley)
A taxi was trapped in floodwater at Brockenhurst (picture: Mitzi Holley)

She told the A&T her and partner Jarred Wood (29) drive around the area in his truck, which is equipped with a snorkel, whenever it floods.

“We see if there’s anyone we can help rescue from floodwater,” Mitzi told the A&T.

“This was definitely the worst we’ve ever seen it. The depth sign had completely disappeared – I’ve never seen it that bad before.

“We saw more than a dozen stranded cars about the place while out there for a couple of hours.”

Just weeks ago, the couple, who live in Ashley, rescued motorists marooned by previous flooding in Brockenhurst.

These included a Southern Water van and a woman in a Mercedes which was stuck under a bridge.

But their help was not required last night as the occupants of all the stranded vehicles they saw had already left the scene.

“Some of the fords under the bridge, which often flood, were completely blocked with stuck cars that people had abandoned,” Mitzi, a mental health support worker, continued.

“Nobody seemed to have stayed with their cars, which was a bit unusual.”

She added: “It was amazing that a couple of people were still trying to drive through despite there already being a number of cars completely stranded.”

Bransgore residents helped Richard Frampton (second from left) fill sandbags (picture: Richard Frampton)
Bransgore residents helped Richard Frampton (second from left) fill sandbags (picture: Richard Frampton)

“Biblical” conditions in Bransgore prompted local farmer Richard Frampton to step in to help locals whose properties were threatened by encroaching floodwater.

Around 4pm, he went to Travis Perkins and bought 65 hessian sandbags to fill with a tonne of sand he had stored in his shed at Harrow Wood Farm from previous building work.

“It was Biblical proportions, the downpour,” Richard told the A&T.

“My farm drain – a 9in concrete pipe – couldn’t cope with it for the first time in my lifetime.“I knew parts of Bransgore were going to go under, particularly Wiltshire Road.”

Bransgore farmer Richard Frampton stepped in to help (picture: Richard Frampton)
Bransgore farmer Richard Frampton stepped in to help (picture: Richard Frampton)

Having put out a plea on a local Facebook page for help filling the sandbags, he was overwhelmed when about a dozen volunteers came forward.

“We could only get about six of us around the trailer, and we must have filled the bags in about 20 minutes,” he continued.

“It was such a great response from the people of the village. It was almost like that Dunkirk spirit.

“That’s why I think Bransgore is very special – it’s never lost that community heart and its kind spirit.

“To get that camaraderie from all the people who came forward, it was inspiring.”

The sandbags were immediately taken out to Wiltshire Road, although it was already too late for one property.

But a couple of bags were placed to prevent more water ingress, and Richard helped pump away some of it.

There were still 45 filled sandbags left at the farm this morning, and villagers in dire need are invited to collect some. Richard can be contacted there on 01425 672487.

The heavy rain caused flash flooding (picture: iStock)
The heavy rain caused flash flooding (picture: iStock)

More flood warnings and alerts have been issued for today by the Environment Agency, which includes Brockenhurst, Boldre, Ringwood, Christchurch, Landford, Ower and Rushington.

The villages of Damerham and Martin in Fordingbridge are at risk of flooding as groundwater levels at the Down Barn borehole have risen in response to recent heavy rainfall, says the EA.

Flooding of roads and some properties, especially basements, is expected and residents should deploy any property resilience measures such as pumps, flood barriers and air brick covers.

Sewage systems may also become overloaded, with residents urged not to lift manhole covers to alleviate local surface water flooding, as this may cause toilets further downhill to surcharge.

Flooding is also expected for Brockenhurst and Boldre due to the “high and rising” water level in Lymington River.

The Environment Agency said “heavy and intense rain” had fallen on already saturated ground, resulting in flooding roads and the watersplash area in Brookley Road.

Flooding is expected imminently at Butts Lawn, Meerut Road and Fathersfield and over the next four to five hours the river will further rise and is expected to flood Martin’s Road and Balmer Lawn Road.

Elsewhere, surface water may impact central Burley and flooding will also occur at Boldre and Pilley Hill.

EA staff are ensuring the river is kept free of blockages and continue to monitor the forecast, it added.

A flood warning has also been issued for parts of Ringwood including Bickerley, The Bridges and Stubbings Meadow, due to the “steadily rising” levels of Avon River.

It also warned of flooding between the B3347 and Stony Lane in Christchurch.

High water levels in the River Blackwater at Wellow and Ower could also result in flooding, the organisation is warning, with a similar situation in Ashurst Bridge, Rushington, Brokenford and Eling, due to the River Blackwater.

A less severe flood alert has also been issued for Danes Stream, between Ashley and Milford.

It said: “Be prepared. The water level in the Danes Stream is very high.

“Milford Dam has operated correctly to reduce the amount of water flowing to Milford, however, the water level in the village is very high and some footpath flooding is occurring. Gardens at Milford High Street may also be affected.”

It added: “The river will remain high until tomorrow morning [Saturday], with flooding impacts continuing throughout that time.

“Please keep away from the riverside footpaths in Milford, especially at Milford Bridge opposite Lucerne Road.

“If footpaths are flooded it will be difficult to see where the edge of the main river channel is.”

Figures show that over a 24-hour period Totton had the most rain, with 36.9mm falling. In Lyndhurst 34mm fell, while New Milton and Brockenhurst had 33.8mm and 30mm respectively.

Christchurch saw 30.5mm in the same timeframe, while Pennington had 24.5mm.

The Environment Agency has issued numerous flood warnings and alerts for the area (picture: Environment Agency)
The Environment Agency has issued numerous flood warnings and alerts for the area (picture: Environment Agency)

Dorset Fire and Rescue Service urged motorists to take care as despite the rain stopping, as there were “several” areas of standing water locally.

Posting online it added: “Do not attempt to drive through any flooding.”

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service said it had received a number of calls from the public asking for help recovering cars stuck in floodwater.

It added: “If there is an immediate risk to life, dial 999 and we will respond – however we do not recover vehicles from water.”

Hampshire County Council said road closures had included the B3078 Bowerwood Road in Fordingbridge, the A35 lane one westbound in Totton, the A31 at Cadnam and also the onslip from the A35 Colbury to A326 Totton western bypass.

Motorists were warned the one-way system in Lyndhurst was passable “with care”.

Posting on social media, one local warned: “Would avoid trying to get on A31 via Netley Marsh. I saw a container lorry hanging off the road on the slip road to the dual carriage way from Rushington.”

Ringwood Police posted on its Facebook page to urge motorists to avoid Crow Hill and Forest Road near Burley due to “deep standing water”.

More than a dozen stranded motorists were seen in the flooding at Brockenhurst (picture: Mitzi Holley)
More than a dozen stranded motorists were seen in the flooding at Brockenhurst (picture: Mitzi Holley)

It added: “We have assisted in recovering several vehicles already, so please don’t risk it and find alternative routes.”

Cars also became stranded in water at Mockbeggar Lane, with police redirecting motorists away.

Waterside Police warned online of localised flooding: “The area is really earning its name with the amount of rain we’ve had today.

“As fun as it can be making a big splashy splashy, we don’t recommend flooring it through puddles as this can be illegal, dangerous and also you risk ruining your car.

“In other areas of the Forest, we have also been made aware of numerous cars getting stuck in water deeper than they expected.

“Remember, as much as we all love Pirates of the Caribbean, a car is not a boat and you should avoid the temptation to go sailing on the roads.”

One local said she had travelled from Lymington to Holbury at about 4pm on Thursday.

More than a dozen stranded motorists were seen in the flooding at Brockenhurst (picture: Mitzi Holley)
More than a dozen stranded motorists were seen in the flooding at Brockenhurst (picture: Mitzi Holley)

While there were “lots of very large deep puddles on the side of the roads” and flooding in Beaulieu was “right across the road and fairly deep”, it was passable “with care and a sensible speed”.

Another motorist warned of driving over the cattle grid between the Heath roundabout and Hilltop due to flooding.

Also affected by the heavy rainfall was Totton Leisure Centre, which was forced to close its gym yesterday evening after flooding at the Water Lane site.

However, this morning the gym and pool had opened as normal, and classes were running.

The Woolpack pub at Sopley was forced to close due to flooding while morebus said services in Christchurch were impacted due to residual waters.

It informed customers: “Due to flooding, Stony Lane is not passable. We will be diverting services via Salisbury Road, missing out Martins Hill Lane in Burton.

“We are missing the following stops: Oak Inn, Sandy Plot, Gordon Way.”

In Netley Marsh a BMW is reported to have got stuck in floodwater, with locals commenting on the “scary” conditions.

One wrote: “I drove home from work at Cadnam tonight via Bartley and Woodlands – [it was] really scary”.

A Bartley resident added the floods were the deepest they had seen in around 20 years.

South Western Railway said trains on Friday could be delayed and urged passengers to check routes online before travelling.

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