STORM Brendan lashed the New Forest and Christchurch last night (Tuesday) causing chaos for travel and sparking a string of flood warnings.
The wild weather brought down trees over roads and caused hazardous driving conditions with spray and standing water.
The clear-up operation involved chainsaw crews going out to cut fallen branches and trunks on the A35, with more reports of blockages on the A326.
Another tree came down in Silver Street in Hordle yesterday afternoon which narrowly missed a patient transport ambulance, leaving the driver shaken but unhurt. In Bransgore, Derritt Lane was under water.
The Met Office has been forecasting heavy rain and winds up to 70mph across England and Wales but they are expected to die down today.
Two cars were damaged at the New Forest base of the Minstead Trust, which supports people with learning disabilities and autism, when a tree was blown down yesterday afternoon. A spokesperson said no one was hurt.
On the roads this morning Bluestar is reporting “significant delays” to its services due to congestion, with the C17 Brockenhurst College bus among those affected.
Public transport delays
Yesterday the Lymington-Yarmouth ferry was suspended by Wightlink, but is back in service now.
For several hours yesterday trains running through the New Forest between Southampton and Bournemouth were forced to slow down due to an obstruction on the line, said South Western Railway.
Hampshire County Council said on Wednesday it had dealt with more than 200 incidents. Highways teams were on “full alert”, and it urged residents to take care on the roads and make sure any drainage was kept clear to avoid flooding.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue said it had been called out to rescue three vehicles from floodwater and it urged people not to enter water in their cars.
Stingers washed ashore
BCP Council reported stinging Portuguese Man O’wars washed up along the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole seafront, and warned there may be more to come.
A spokesperson asked people to report them and said: “If you spot one please do not touch as they can give a very painful sting. If out on a beach walk please ensure that any dogs or young children do not get close to them.”
The most serious flood warnings by the Environment Agency were for the Lower Avon between Ringwood and Christchurch and in the early hours for the River Blackwater between Nomansland and Ower in the north of the Forest.
In an update after midnight, the Environment Agency said that in the Lower Avon the areas most at risk are Bickerley, Ringwood and the B3347 from Christchurch to Stony Lane in Christchurch.
A warning for Beaulieu was issued for the 1.50am high tide this morning, with drivers urged to keep away from the village.
That was updated for the high tide forecast today by the Environment Agency at 2.12pm and 2.54pm. It said: “Whilst the forecast tide level is not overly high, for two hours either side of high water, levels will rise around the upstream side of the Mill Pond.
“This could cause out of bank flooding and may flood the B3056 road. From 4pm this afternoon water levels should begin to fall.”
Lower-level flood alerts for people to be prepared were issued for areas including Bransgore, Mudeford and Milford. They were also made for Lymington River, Bartley Water and coastal areas of the Waterside.