Flood Warning Issued For River Stour

A flood warning's been issued for a river in Dorset - the Environment Agency says flooding's expected along the Lower Stour from Sturminster Marshall to Christchurch.

Here's the full warning:

Flooding is expected for Farms at Sturminster Marshall, Cowgrove, Shops in Wimborne, Mill Street in Corfe Mullen, Bridge House Hotel in Ferndown, Brecon Close, Ringwood Road, Throop Road in Bournemouth, Barrack Road and Willow Way in Christchurch this morning.  

Immediate action required.

Water levels in the lower Stour from Sturminster Marshall to Christchurch are rising this morning.Up to 30 mm of rainfall has fallen in the last 24 hours.
Showers are continuing, with some intense bursts.
Catchments are responding to rainfall.
Surface water ponding may already be affecting low lying land and roads.
   
The gauges that can be used to trigger this Flood Warning are Throop, Wimborne, Blandford and Iford Bridge.
 
- Act now to protect yourself and your property.

- If it's safe to do so, block doors with flood boards or sandbags and cover airbricks and other ventilation holes.

- If you are caught in a flash flood, get to higher ground.  Stay away from flood water and don't take risks.  

- Move family, pets and valuables to a safe place.  

- Keep a flood kit ready including a torch, batteries, fully charged mobile phone, warm clothes, water, food and any prescription medicines you may need.

- If it's safe, make sure your neighbours are aware of the situation and offer help to anyone who may need it.

- Avoid walking, cycling or driving through flood water.

- Turn off gas, electricity and water if your property is about to flood.  Never touch an electrical switch if you are standing in water.

- Call Floodline on 0845 988 1188 for up-to-date flooding information.

- Keep an eye on local water levels and weather conditions.  The Environment Agency website contains details of river level and flooding information and can be accessed at www.environment-agency.gov.uk.

The Environment Agency has previously warned that the drought gripping swathes of England could increase the risk of flash flooding as rain is less easily absorbed by dry, compacted soils, instead running off and causing localised floods.

And while the rain may be welcome for gardeners and farmers in drought-affected areas, the downpours are not enough to alleviate the drought that stems from two unusually dry winters in a row.

Richard Aylard, from Thames Water, one of seven companies which have brought in hosepipe bans in response to the drought, said ''a couple of wet weeks'' was not enough to reverse record dry conditions seen in the region in the past two years.

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