Storm Ciara: More wind and flooding forecast as clear-up begins

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Storm Ciara
Powerful waves battered Milford seafront (Photo: Keith Prior)

FLOOD and weather warnings were issued to coastal areas this morning (Monday) as the clear-up began from the impact of Storm Ciara yesterday.

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According to the Met Office, the Needles off the Isle of Wight experienced the strongest winds with a gust of 97mph measured.

Despite conditions lessening today, Christchurch’s weekly market was called off by BCP Council as winds stayed strong and a yellow warning was issued by the Met Office for the south coast.

Yesterday trees – and a brick wall in New Milton – were brought down around the New Forest and Christchurch. A pair of wallabies also escaped when a fence at their enclosure in Calmore was destroyed.

One of them was spotted by residents hopping around their garden before being found later sheltering in a bush by police.

Storm Ciara
One of the wallabies that escaped from a property in Calmore during Storm Ciara (Photo: Hampshire police)

Reporting the storm’s impact, on Twitter Hampshire police’s rural team added: “Oh, and two Wallabies that had escaped their enclosure in Calmore are now safely back where they belong.

“They were being kept privately. The wind blew down the fence they were behind, some horses wandered into their field and they scarpered or should I say hopped!”

This morning high water led to the Environment Agency to advise motorists to drive slowly through Beaulieu or keep away entirely as flooding was forecast for an hour either side of high water at about 11.30am.

It said access would be difficult in Palace Lane and the B3056 north of the Mill Pond, and it was monitoring the situation for tomorrow.

It advised: “To reduce flood risk to property, please drive slowly through Beaulieu, avoiding it completely if possible. At Hatchet Lane, driving through flood water can cause flooding to property.”

Flooding was also predicted as a possibility near Christchurch Harbour for two hours either side of the high tides at 10.30am and 10.45pm, including at Mudeford, Stanpit, the Quomps and Wick areas.

The Environment Agency said: “Our incident response staff are closing flood gates and checking defences.”

There was also a forecast of pavement flooding at Town Quay in Lymington for an hour either side of the 11.12am high tide, and at Saltgrass Lane in Keyhaven which was set to be impassable to traffic.

Storm Ciara
The winds blew over a wall in Warwick Avenue, New Milton (Photo: Mike Buckby)

A yellow wind warning – the lowest severity – was issued by the Met Office for the entire south coast today, including the New Forest and Christchurch, running until about 7pm.

There could be transport delays, it said, with seaside communities likely to be affected by spray and large waves.

It added: “Although it will remain widely rather windy in the wake of Storm Ciara, a further swathe of very strong winds is possible across the far south of England during Monday.

“Gusts of 60-70mph could develop quite widely over parts of south-west England during Monday morning, before moving east through the afternoon to affect other exposed coastal parts of southern England.

“Large waves are expected along the coasts, with a small chance of localised coastal flooding.”

Storm Ciara
A tree brought down at the Sainsbury’s roundabout in Christchurch

As the winds raged yesterday, police reported trees down across the New Forest, including one on the road near Walhampton School, which was soon cleared.

Another tree fall blocked the railway line between the Ashurst New Forest and Beaulieu Road stations for a short while before being removed by about 6pm.

The conditions were bad enough for New Forest District Council to invoke its “severe weather emergency protocol” to ramp up its efforts to get homeless people off the streets.

NFDC advised residents only to put out their bins this morning if there was no risk, and said collections would only go ahead after 7am if cleared by a safety assessment.

On Friday Hampshire County Council said it had extra tree and emergency teams on standby in preparation.

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