“Enormous waves” and flooding over wet weekend in Purbeck

Warnings to check tides and take care by the sea and near rivers in Purbeck have been issued after people got into trouble at Lulworth, Portland and at East Holme, amid a weekend of wet and windy weather.

A group of people was spotted on Lulworth Estate on Sunday 31st January 2021, on the beach but the tide forced them up against the rock face.


“Enormous pull on the waves over the weekend”

While there were no injuries, a Lulworth Estate spokesperson said on Facebook:

“We cannot stress how important it is to be sensible when at Lulworth, regardless of the current situation. Checking the tide and weather forecast are important steps to ensure you have an enjoyable day and not a major incident. Don’t get caught out!

“Tide times can be found on various websites and if you are unsure whether the tide is coming in or going out, presume it is coming in!

“Although some may dismiss this as people just ‘getting their feet wet’, there was an enormous pull on the waves over the weekend, and with a pebbly beach it is easy to lose your footing.

“Respect the environment you are in, and don’t put undue pressure on emergency services.”

coastguard graphic waves
Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Freak wave at Chesil Beach

The weekend’s weather caused a serious incident at Portland on Saturday 30th January 2021, where a rescuer was thrown into a stone wall by a freak 30 foot wave at Chesil Beach. The person is reported to have suffered leg injuries as a result.

Three members of the Portland Bill Coastguard crew were injured by the wave.

The coastguard is urging people to take extreme care when near the sea in such conditions. 

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said:

“We would urge people to think carefully about the risks they take and be extremely careful during bad weather – piers, rocks, harbours and the water’s edge are not safe places to be. If you see anyone in trouble call 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

Car stuck in flood at East Holme
Wareham Fire Station
Car stuck in flood at East Holme
Wareham Fire Station

Trapped car

As well as the dangers by the sea, with river levels high there was flooding inland. On Sunday 31st at 8.24 pm, the fire service was called to East Holme near Wareham where a car drove into the ford and got immersed in the flood water from the tributary to the River Frome. 

Wareham Fire Station said on Facebook:

“One fire engine was sent to a car at East Holme. One person and his car were stuck in flood waters at the ford. Thankfully we got him to safety.  We were joined by Poole Fire Station technical rescue.”

Overflowing water outlet at Ocean Bay in Swanage
David George

Overflowing water outlet at Ocean Bay in Swanage

Wet weather weekend and more rain forecast

Much of Dorset suffered a wet weekend, with several flood warnings issued for the area. The water outlet at Ocean Bay on Swanage Beach struggled to cope with the amount of water gushing out onto the beach. 

Purbeck rivers and streams were under a flood warning for a while, but it was lifted at 11.01 am on Sunday 31st January 2021.

The Lower Frome from East Stoke to Wareham was also under a flood warning until 11.32 am on Monday 1st February 2021.

Slightly less severe flood alerts are in force for the Lower Frome and tributaries and the River Piddle and tributaries.

More rain is forecast for Swanage by the Met Office for much of the coming week.

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