HIGHWAYS teams will be on standby round the clock to deal with disruption caused by Storm Dennis which is forecast to lash the New Forest and Christchurch this weekend.
Hampshire County Council said it was prepared for heavy rain and winds of up to 70mph which prompted the Met Office to issue a weather alert earlier this week warning of potential damage and delays on transport networks across the country.
The Environment Agency warned of an increased risk of flooding. It has been issuing flood alerts throughout the week for parts of waterside communities including Lymington, Milford, Christchurch and Beaulieu.
It said: “Please be careful along beaches, promenades, coastal footpaths and roads and stay away from exposed areas of coastline. Keep away from cliffs as cliff falls are more likely in these conditions.”
Storm Dennis follows Storm Ciara last weekend which blocked roads and railways with fallen trees and led to flooding in some parts, with big waves on the coast.
An HCC spokesperson said the latest extreme conditions meant some household waste recycling centres may need to close at short notice this weekend, and apologised in advance for any inconvenience.
Residents are also advised to check on social media whether HCC’s country parks are open before traveling.
Cllr Rob Humby, the council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for environment and transport, urged residents to think twice before making journeys this weekend.
He said: “With the forecast for heavy rain and strong winds again this weekend, we have extra equipment to deal with flooding, tree crews and emergency gangs ready to keep Hampshire’s roads clear of surface water and fallen trees.
“Last weekend, we received over 1,300 reports of issues on the highway caused by the storm and had teams clearing the roads into the early hours of Monday morning.
“While all main routes were cleared by Monday morning rush hour, our tree crews were still dealing with trees and flooding issues on some smaller, rural roads on Monday and Tuesday, and have continued to clear up debris through the week.”
Cllr Humby added: “The forecast is for heavy rain this coming Saturday. With the ground already saturated, trees are vulnerable to strong winds and I would urge everyone to think if their journey is really necessary and to check travel conditions before setting out this weekend.”
- Surface water or fallen trees on the highway can be reported direct to HCC via www.hants.gov.uk/transport/roadmaintenance/roadproblems
- Urgent highways issues can be reported via 0300 555 1388 during office hours or to Hampshire police on 101
- Fallen trees on rights of way can be reported direct to HCC via www.hants.gov.uk/landplanningandenvironment/rightsofway/reportaproblem
- For information on power cuts, call 105. Further information on the impact on the electricity network is available from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks
- Details of flood alerts and updates are available from the Environment Agency