WINDS of up to 80mph and large waves could be seen along the Dorset coast on Wednesday, the Met Office has warned.

A yellow weather warning – meaning be aware – has been issued for the county from 6pm on Tuesday until 6pm on Wednesday.

The Met Office warned that the strong winds combined with high tide means there is a “small chance that injuries and danger to life could occur from large waves and beach material being thrown on to sea fronts, roads and coastal properties.”

A spokesperson for the Met Office said in an update on Tuesday: “A deepening area of low pressure, now named Storm Eleanor, will track east across the centre of the UK.

"This will bring gales and severe gales to Northern Ireland and northern England late on Tuesday and overnight, clearing eastern England during Wednesday morning.

"The strong winds may clip southern Scotland, with continued uncertainty in the northern extent.

"Further south, severe gales affect western and southern coasts this evening and overnight, with a very squally feature bringing a short spell of intense rainfall and very strong gusts to some inland localities. Wednesday daytime sees a very blustery day, with squally gusts accompanying showers in many areas.

"Throughout this period, gusts of 60-70 mph are likely along exposed coasts, with the more exposed locations seeing gusts close to 80 mph. Inland gusts exceeding 60 mph are possible."

The Environment Agency has also issued a number of flood alerts, saying coastal flooding is possible for areas of the south west on Wednesday and Thursday.

"Any flooding is expected to coincide with periods of high tide.

"Properties may flood and there may be travel disruption.

"Land, roads and some properties could flood and there could be travel disruption."

A spokesperson for Condor Ferries said: "With wind speeds of up to 70mph and wave heights above seven metres, the company cancelled four sailings and placed other departures under review.

"Today, both Commodore Clipper and Condor Liberation’s services from Portsmouth and Poole respectively have been cancelled, whilst Condor Rapide is sailing on a slightly revised schedule between Jersey and St Malo and the freight-only vessel, Commodore Goodwill, will arrive in Portsmouth this evening as normal. 

"For Wednesday, 03 January, all fast ferry sailings have been cancelled from the UK and France and Clipper’s departure from Portsmouth is being delayed until the wind speeds moderate to permit berthing in the Channel Islands.

Capt. Fran Collins, Condor’s Executive Director of Operations, said: "We appreciate that, with several days of disruption due to successive storms, passengers are very keen to know what travel options they have.

"Our operations and customer-facing teams are working relentlessly to update our schedules and then our passengers taking into consideration the latest forecasts.

"This is made more difficult due to a rapidly changing weather situation.

"We share our passengers’ disappointment at the obvious inconvenience and uncertainty caused by this sustained period of atrocious weather.

"Throughout the Christmas period, our crews onboard and our operational teams ashore in ports and our contact centre have worked extra shifts helping to revise schedules, rearrange travel and ensure that the Islands stay connected and supplied.

"I would like to thank them for their resilience and determination", she added.