THE Environment Agency today warned the public to remain vigilant as further flooding is expected across the region.

There are currently eight flood warnings in force, including the Meon Valley, and further warnings are expected as rivers respond to the rainfall sweeping across the region.

Agency staff are working at Wallington near Fareham again today, carrying our further reinforcement work on the flood defence.

Further rain will fall onto ground that is already saturated and rivers that are already swollen, increasing the risk of flooding.

In Winchester the River Itchen is high but two feet below the level in the winter of 2000-01 when it burst its banks and reminded people of the origin of the name of Water Lane.

With Christmas around the corner the agency is urging members of the public to plan their travels carefully. Motorists are being warned not to attempt to drive through flood water. Residents whose homes are at risk of flooding should tune into local TV or radio stations to keep track of the weather situation.

Flood warnings in Hampshire:
• The Meon Valley;
• Brockenhurst on the River Lymington;
• Landford to Wade Bridge on the River Blackwater;
• Langbridge and Alverstone on the Eastern Yar.

Peter Quarmby, the agency’s flood and coastal Rrisk manager, said: “We are closely monitoring the situation across the South East as the heavy rainfall is causes rivers to rise. We are working to minimise any possible risk of flooding and warning residents to take action now and reduce the risks and impacts.

“We are continuing to warn motorists not to drive through floodwater, it is very dangerous. There is a lot of water around so avoid trying to drive or walk through any flooding and be sensible when out and about, particularly near rivers.

“Our teams have been working round the clock to prepare and to make sure our professional partners are prepared. We have officers out checking flood defences and clearing any river blockages. We are receiving regular updates from the Met Office, and will continuously monitor both river levels and tidal conditions.

“Now is a good time for anyone who lives in an area vulnerable to flooding to think about the precautions they can take to protect their properties, and I would encourage everybody to check their flood risk at the Environment Agency website and keep up to date on warnings.”

The Environment Agency provides a 24-hour flood warning service. Floodline Warnings Direct is a free service that sends messages directly to those signed up when flooding from rivers is possible in the areas where they live.