HAMPSHIRE has been put on flood alert after warnings of heavy rain on the way.

The Met Office is predicting torrential downpours and strong winds tomorrow and Thursday, which has prompted the Environment Agency to urge residents to protect themselves against potential damage to their homes and property.

Up to four centimetres of rain is expected to fall on the west of the county on Wednesday, in a weather system which could bring gale force winds and large waves to the south coast Experts are warning it could lead to coastal alerts and minor disruption inland, with some impact from spray or waves breaching coastal defences.

There are also fears rivers across Hampshire could burst their banks, and with groundwater levels already high and rising in parts of the county, any further rainfall will be carefully monitored.

Andrew Gilham, the Environment Agency's flood and coastal risk manager, said: “It looks like it's going to be a wet end to the week, with heavy rain and strong winds forecast for tomorrow and Thursday, particularly across Hampshire and Wiltshire.

“Our teams are working hard 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.”