Flooding through the decades - Dorset suffers downpours and devastation

Bournemouth Echo: Bournemouth Gardens were flooded in gales of 1972 Bournemouth Gardens were flooded in gales of 1972

FLOODING is a real risk for many Dorset towns and villages – as this year’s deluge has shown.

It is not a threat confined to winter either, as shown by the freak downpour of July 1955, which brought seven inches of rain to parts of Dorset in 24 hours.

Bournemouth Echo:

Vehicles negotiate flood waters at Iford after storms in July 1955

In November 1966, the worst floods for more than a quarter of a century hit North Dorset. Hundreds of people worked to barricade their doors from the rising River Stour, only for the water to seep straight in.

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Bournemouth Echo:

Cars and vans battle through waters at Longham in 1966

In June 1979, sudden floods hit Wimborne, Throop and Holdenhurst, after the River Stour was dramatically swollen. Eight hundred caravan residents were evacuated from Grove Farm Meadow Caravan Park in Stour Way, Christchurch.

Bournemouth Echo:

Car partially submerged in flood waters at Christchurch after the 1979 storm

The end of December 1979 brought some of the worst flooding ever seen in the county, as the River Stour burst its banks, leaving a trail of devastation through Blandford, Wimborne and Christchurch.

Bournemouth Echo:

Flooded Blandford after 1979 storms

Caravans were washed away, cars disappeared. Holdenhurst village was cut off. In Christchurch, firefighters waded chest-deep in icy floodwater to rescue stranded people.

Bournemouth Echo:

Wimborne residents collected sandbags to protect property when town was flooded in 1979

The decade of some of Dorset’s worst floods, also the most prolonged drought in living memory.

Bournemouth Echo:

Pond at Queen's Park golf course ran dry for the first time in 40 years

Temperatures were in the 90s, severe forest fires broke out and rain only arrived in September – when, naturally, it came in torrents.

Bournemouth Echo:

Wessex Water notice in Canford Cliffs warning the public to conserve water during hot weather of 1976.

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