PROPERTIES in parts of Dorset are at risk of flooding as Storm Ciarán blows in, the Environment Agency has warned.

A series of flooding warnings have been issued for Christchurch Harbour, Swanage Bay, and Poole Harbour at West Quay, Lower Hamworthy Quay, and Wareham.

A red flood warning is the most severe that can be issued by the Environment Agency meaning ‘flooding is expected, act now’.

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The Environment Agency said: “Flooding is expected in this area. This means properties are at risk of flooding.

“Please take action to protect yourself and your property and monitor local weather and river conditions.

“Avoid contact with, walking or driving through flood water. Consider activating any property flood protection products you may have.”

Flood alerts have also been issued for the east coast of Dorset which includes Studland Bay, Sandbanks, Bournemouth beach, and Hengistbury Head.

The Lower Avon and tributaries between Ringwood and Christchurch are also at risk of flooding.

The Environment Agency said: "Flooding is possible in this area.

"Monitor local water levels and weather conditions. Avoid using low lying footpaths or entering areas prone to flooding. Start acting on your flood plan if you have one."