A FLOOD alert has been issued for parts of the Dorset coast this afternoon.

The alert by the Environment Agency is now in force for Swanage, Studland, Sandbanks, Poole Harbour, Bournemouth beach, Hengistbury Head and Christchurch Harbour.

It has been issued due to "high winds and a tidal surge."

The Environment Agency says high water is forecast for 4pm today, but it will be high for two hours before and after this time.

Groundwater flooding is also possible in the Cranborne Chase area with flooding possible in the Lower Frome and tributaries.

The Environment Agency said: “Levels in the River Frome remain high but are now slowly falling at the East Stoke river gauge. Consequently, flooding of roads, footpaths and farmland is possible today and for the next few days.

"We believe there is a possibility of flooding for tributaries between Dorchester and Wareham. Flooding of properties is not forecast at this point. Further rainfall is expected tomorrow."

"We are closely monitoring the situation and our incident response staff are checking defences and trash screens.”

Today will be wet and windy for the rest of the day, with heavy rain expected from 5pm onwards.

No weather warning is currently in place.