THE public has been urged to support the Dorset businesses battered by storms.

Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry has also issued advice for companies.

Ian Girling, the chamber’s chief executive, said: “Businesses in Dorset have shown remarkable resilience so far but the storms have made it a very challenging time.

“Some businesses have found it difficult to make deliveries, arrange meetings, see suppliers and get out and about.

“The retail sector is also suffering with customers unwilling to venture out in the rain. Tourism is also very important to the local economy and it will have felt an impact.

“But Dorset businesses very much remain open and I would urge people to support them with loyalty, custom and understanding as they strive to maintain services at a challenging time.”

The disruption locally has included the four-hour closure of the Dorset Way near Tower Park last Wednesday, the suspension of trains between Waterloo to Weymouth and power cuts in various parts of the county. Gusts of 59mph have been recorded in Bournemouth and 70mph on Portland.

Mr Girling urged businesses to stay alert and monitor the Environment Agency website but also keep customers informed.

He said: “Check the Environment Agency website, take any necessary precautions and ensure staff are safe.

“Make sure good communication lines with customers and clients are open. Keep websites up-to-date about deliveries, use email and call people to keep them updated.

“Most people don’t mind issues as long as they are kept informed.”

The chamber has nearly 700 members of all sizes, employing just under 37,000 people.