STORM Barra blew in and battered Dorset's coastline, causing travel disruption, flooding and the closure of Bournemouth's Christmas market.

Residents living near the coast from Lymington to Lyme Regis were warned to expect flooding, with two red level flood warnings issued for Christchurch Harbour and Beaulieu in the New Forest.

Bournemouth Echo: Picture at Mudeford Quay from Andrew Pattenden

Image from Andrew Pattenden

Flood gates at Christchurch were also closed to prevent huge damage to homes and businesses, with the Environment Agency saying force eight winds and large waves produced a swell within the harbour.

People living nearby were told to consider taking action, with high tide in the early hours of this morning, predicted to produce a similar impact.

Waves overtopped the wall at Mudeford, while water spilled over the pathways at Christchurch Quay at high tide.

Bournemouth Echo: Storm Barra hits Christchurch Quay on Tuesday, December 7.

By 10am, a section of Quay Road just off The Boathouse restaurant was submerged with several vehicles being forced to turn around.

Elsewhere, at Mudeford Quay, a line of motorists sat and watched as stormy waves crashed over the promenade and into the car park.

Advice to remain cautious was adhered to by visitors who did not venture out of their vehicles, parking a safe distance away from the crashing waves.

Roads were predominantly kept clear, with most vehicles able to drive through large puddles without incident.

Bournemouth Echo: Knoll beach during Storm Barra. Picture from Robin Boultwood

Winds of up to 55mph were seen across the Dorset coast, with flood alerts also issued for Swanage, Poole Harbour and Lymington, as well the west Dorset coast.

In Poole, Shore Road in Sandbanks was also impassable due to storm tides with flooding right across road.

Network Rail imposed a blanket 50mph speed restriction on railway lines across Dorset to protect passengers and train crew from the effects of the high winds.

Sandbanks Ferry was also suspended for hours, while drivers on the A31, A350 and A35 were also hit by heavy rain throughout the day.

Bournemouth Echo: Storm Barra hits Christchurch Quay on Tuesday, December 7.

Bournemouth's Christmas Market was closed to visitors during heavy squalls throughout the day, with only some stalls choosing to reopen on Tuesday.

A weather warning for strong winds remains in place until 6pm on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the Met Office said: "Wind gusts of 45-50 mph are expected widely across the region, with a potential of 55-65 mph for exposed coastal locations. In addition to strong winds, there is a potential for large waves along windward coasts."