BRACE yourselves. Five days of weather warnings have been issued in the countdown to Christmas.

The Met Office has a series of warnings in place for Dorset and the New Forest, which start from today.

A yellow warning for rain will be in force between 2pm today and midday on Friday for Bournemouth, Poole and the rest of Dorset.

The warning was originally due to run between 4pm today until 11.59pm this evening but has now been extended and includes the New Forest.

Most places will see between 30mm and 50mm of rainfall, but some places could see anywhere between 60mm and 90mm.

The Met Office warns heavy rain will lead to flooding and travel disruption in places.

Delays or cancellations to train and bus services are possible, while power cuts could also occur. 

A Met Office spokesperson said: “Several periods of heavy rain are likely from Wednesday afternoon until early Friday. 30 to 50 mm of rain is likely to accumulate quite widely during this time, with 60 to 90 mm over some south-facing hills of southwest England and south Wales.

They added: “Some drier periods are likely in between the spells of rain and the longevity of these is uncertain, but the overall accumulation of rain on saturated ground is likely to lead to flooding in places.”

A flood warning is in force for Lower Avon from Ringwood to Christchurch

Bournemouth Echo:

The Environment Agency said that river levels "remain high at the Ringwood Old Cottage river gauge as a result of the recent heavy rainfall and the ground being wet."

A spokesperson said: "Further heavy rainfall is expected overnight. Consequently, flooding of properties, roads and farmland is expected. Areas most at risk are Bickerley, Ringwood and the B3347 from Christchurch to Stony Lane in Christchurch River levels can rise very quickly in response to heavy rainfall.

"River and groundwater levels in this area can be expected to remain high for several days. We are closely monitoring the situation. Our incident response staff are checking defences.

"Please avoid using bridges over local watercourses and can owners with property flood resilience equipment install it now."

The Environment Agency said river levels are also forecast to rise at the Swanage King Georges Field Cemetery Gate river gauge as a result of heavy overnight rainfall tonight.

The agency said as a result, flooding of roads and farmland is possible from 4pm today.

Flooding could also occur in the Corfe Castle and Swanage area.

The Lower Frome and tributaries could also be affected between Dorchester and Wareham. 

 Another weather warning will come into effect from midnight on Saturday until 11.59pm on Sunday.

The Met Office said while the amount of rainfall won’t be particularly large, up to 30mm could fall on already saturated ground making flooding more probable.