Dorset And Hampshire - Flooding Risk

The wet summer has left the country with a higher risk of flooding this autumn and winter, the Environment Agency and Met Office have warned.

The wettest April to June on record, and further wet weather in July, September and October, has left river levels full, the ground saturated and groundwaters in some areas exceptionally high.

Emergency responders as well as householders are being advised to be prepared for flooding, which, due to the saturated conditions, could occur with relatively small amounts of rain.

Paul Mustow, head of flood incident management at the Environment Agency, said:

''This year our flood defences have protected over 119,000 properties, but we cannot prevent flooding entirely.

''With one in six homes at risk of flooding, the most important step people can take in protecting themselves from the worst impacts is to find out if they are at risk, and sign up to the Environment Agency's free flood warnings service.

''As winter approaches we'd encourage everyone to take this one step to help protect themselves from what is recognised as the country's number one natural hazard.''

The Environment Agency and Met Office are warning that:

:: The South West of England is of particular risk of flooding from rivers in November and December with northern and western parts of England at Wales at increased risk after recent heavy rainfall.

:: Unseasonably high groundwater levels mean there is increased risk of flooding in the south and east of England with Devon, Dorset and Hampshire particularly at risk.

:: Flooding from surface water, where the amount of rainfall overwhelms the drainage network, is more likely as the ground is already saturated.

:: The risk of coastal flooding also increases at this time of year, especially during periods of high spring tides from November 12-18 and and December 12-18.

Sarah Jackson, the Met Office's chief adviser to the Government, said:

''We are heading into the winter period which is traditionally the wetter period of the year in the UK.

''Because the ground is so wet, if we do have any prolonged heavy rainfall in any part of the country, there is going to be heightened risk of flooding.

''We recommend that everyone keeps up-to-date with the latest forecasts and warnings in periods of wet weather to be prepared.''

More than 1.1 million people are signed up to receive Environment Agency flood warnings - which can be sent by email, text, or a message to a landline or mobile phone.

This summer, 100,000 households were warned of potential flooding, giving people essential time to protect their homes and possessions.

Households and businesses can check their flood risk and sign up to receive free flood warnings at