Flash floods sweep through Dorset

Friday 19th Aug 2011 by theWeather Club

Stranded vehicles, flooded homes and closed roads were the order of the day after flash floods swept across parts of Dorset. The worst-hit areas ranged between Lulworth to Bournemouth and Christchurch, but few parts of the county escaped the sudden downpours. At the height of the flooding, residents reported drain covers being lifted up and water reaching the height of car bonnets. Several people were rescued from vehicles stuck in flood water, and for a time Bournemouth's Lower and Central Gardens were under water.

Bournemouth Borough Council said it had reports of flooding in 120 locations and up until 14:00 local time it had taken nearly 1,000 calls at its call centre, with 98% being flood-related. Police said worried callers reported up to 0.9m of water near Castle Point Shopping Centre and one person even told officers the road was caving in. Buildings and businesses through the locality were forced to close as the fast flowing waters continued to rise.

Dorset Fire and Rescue Service said at one stage it had brought in assistance from the neighbouring Hampshire Fire Service, as it was called to more than 100 incidents in two hours. A spokeswoman said it had been called to several homes where water had reached waist deep. The sudden deluge also caused traffic chaos. The A338 Wessex Way was completely blocked for a time, causing gridlock, while in Bournemouth several buildings on Exeter Road were evacuated and the road closed after a gas pipe was ruptured by a collapsing wall.

The Met Office recorded 53mm of rain in the Springbourne area of Bournemouth between 04:00 BST and 13:00 BST, while 57.8mm of rain fell in Portland during the same period. The Met Office also said that although the worst of the weather had passed by the afternoon, it was issuing a yellow weather alert for heavy and thundery showers on Sunday, moving across the Channel from France. A spokeswoman said these had the potential to cause similar problems.