POOLE'S Lantern Parade fell victim to the weather yesterday, as the Environment Agency issued a flood alert for Poole Harbour.

The popular parade, in which youngsters march through town with their handmade lanterns, normally attracts thousands of spectators to the town.

Participants were due to leave Falkland Square at 6pm, last night, with the parade making its way to the Guildhall for carols and mince pies. 

However, with gale force winds forecast, Poole Town Centre Management say they were forced to cancel on safety grounds.

Yesterday they confirmed: "Unfortunately due to weather reports from the Met Office, we have had to make the decision to cancel tonight's parade.

"The weather is set to be gale force winds with showers on and off all day.

"The safety of everyone taking part has to come first."

Meanwhile, the stormy and rainy weather, which continued throughout yesterday's general election polling, is set to continue for the next couple of days.

Gale force gusts were forecast along the Dorset coast last night, and they are set to continue today and into the weekend.

Yesterday the Environment Agency also issued a flood alert for Wareham.

A spokesman said: "The forecast wind is Force 6 in a west north west direction.

"Flooding to roads and properties is possible, however conditions may apply two to four hours either side of the high tide.

"We believe there is a possibility of flooding for Poole Harbour and tidal stretches of the Lower Frome and River Piddle.

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

"Please be careful along beaches, promenades and coastal footpaths and roads."

Earlier this year the high winds forced the cancellation of a number of firework events.

In November, with Force 8 winds forecast, Christchurch Rotary called off its bonfire night celebrations at Stanpit.

And in August two of Bournemouth's Friday night firework displays were cancelled for two weeks running.

High winds and heavy rain were blamed on these occasions.