HEAVY rain has seen a return of flooding across Hampshire today.

Water levels have begun rising on roads around the county, as saturated ground and swollen rivers struggle to cope with the downpours.

Forecasters are predicting torrential rain will fall throughout the day.

The Environment Agency has issued flood warnings for the River Lymington at Brockenhurst, and East Meon, West Meon, Warnford, Meonstoke, Wickham, and Titchfield on the River Meon.

Calmore Drive in Totton, which was closed by council officials during the problems on Thursday, is reportedly flooded again today at its junction with Michigan Way, but was said to be just about passable for motorists.

Hampshire police said they would be assisting the Environment Agency today in beefing up flood defences in Wallington, where a severe flood alert was issued on Thursday.

Cracks were discovered in the flood wall along the River Wallington, leading to a partial evacuation of the village, near Fareham.

The authorities were planning to put extra sandbags in place today in case the water levels rise significantly again.

In Portsmouth, motorists are being warned to approach the A2030 Eastern Road with care because of flooding on the southbound carriageway between the A27 junction and the A288 Milton Road junction.

On the Isle of Wight, the A3055 Morton Common in Sandown is closed in both directions because of deep water. There is also a flood warning for the River Yar, at Langbridge and Alverstone.

Road conditions are so severe in Devon and Cornwall that police have issued a warning that no one should attempt to travel west of Taunton unless their journey is absolutely essential.

And just over the Hampshire border in Dorset, fire chiefs have criticised motorists for ignoring flood water warnings and road closures, and driving into trouble.

Fire crews used an inflatable boat to rescue three drivers from their vehicles in Lyndhurst Road in Christchurch.

Three hours later crews returned to rescue a stranded taxi driver. Another motorist was stuck for around five hours.

A spokesman for Dorset Fire and Rescue Service said several incidents had occurred after drivers ignored road closure signs and drove straight into the water.

He said: "Motorists need to remember these closures are in place for their own safety.”