RESIDENTS are being prepared for the risk of groundwater flooding over the coming weeks.

The Dorset recovery working group, led by Dorset County Council, will work with communities in affected areas to help them get ready for the floods which are expected to hit in the next few days.

The areas most at risk from this type of flooding include Winterbourne Abbas, Milborne St Andrew, Sixpenny Handley, Cranborne Chase and parts of North Dorset.

The chalk geology of these areas combined with the recent extremely heavy rainfall creates a strong likelihood of groundwater flooding.

Streams and rivers are at full capacity and high volumes of surface water run off from agricultural land mean that the groundwater has nowhere to go.

Cllr Hilary Cox, the county council’s Cabinet member for environment, said: “The management of flood risk involves the whole community. Agencies will be working to ensure that obstructions to the highways, streams and other drainage systems are removed. These systems are already at a high capacity so they will continue to be monitored and steps will be taken to relieve them if needed.

“Local residents can help by ensuring their properties are protected, that any culverts or drainage ditches are clear. People and their possessions should be moved to a safe or higher location.”

Other agencies involved in the Dorset recovery working group include the Environment Agency, town, parish, district and borough councils, the NHS, Highways Agency, utility companies and the emergency services.

Simon Parker, Dorset County Council’s emergency planning officer, said: “The group will look at ways the council and partners can actively work with communities to provide support to people who have been affected.

“There is a possibility that groundwater flooding will be with us for a number of weeks and the wet weather is set to continue. Agencies across the county will continue working together to ensure that Dorset residents get help and assistance when it’s needed.”