While work to repair the damage of Storm Eunice continues, Storm Franklin has blown into Swanage with westerly gusts up to 50 mph, prompting the Met Office to issue a Yellow wind warning.
A flood alert was also issued for East Dorset, including Swanage and Studland on Sunday 20th February 2022, with fears that an ocean surge coinciding with high tide could cause flooding along the coast.
Although much less severe than the recently issued Red warning, the Yellow wind warning from 12 noon Sunday 20th to 1 pm Saturday 21st February 2022, is not making it easy to restore electricity and clear fallen trees from train tracks.
Flood alert issued on Sunday 20th February 2022 by the Environment Agency for coastal flooding, marked in yellow
Yellow wind warning from 12 noon Sunday 20th to 1 pm Saturday 21st February 2022
Power cuts across Purbeck
Over the weekend, power cuts affected parts of Swanage, Studland, Harmans Cross, Stoborough and parts of Wareham.
Durlston Castle, National Trust’s Knoll Beach cafe, Joe’s cafe at South Beach and Purbeck Coast 101.2 FM were all without electricity at times.
While most have had the power restored, some properties in Purbeck are still without electricity since Friday 18th February 2022.
“New faults, access issues due to fallen trees and multiple points of damage”
Issuing an update at 6 pm on Sunday 20th February 2022, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks said:
“It has been a challenging and hazardous day with sustained high winds, particularly across the coast. This has led to new faults, access issues due to fallen trees and multiple points of damage on our overhead lines, which has extended repair times.
“Our teams are making every possible effort to restore further supplies this evening, but based on the expected impact of Storm Franklin, which will move through our region overnight, we have unfortunately had to adjust some restoration times for customers.
“Despite this, we have continued to make good progress. As of 6 pm, we have restored power to over 172,000 homes (95 percent of total affected) leaving around 9,650 homes without power.
“Parts of Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorset, Surrey, Oxfordshire and West Sussex are most affected, with further localised faults across our operating region.”
Customers without power for more than 48 hours automatically get a payment of £70, followed by a further £70 for each additional period of 12 hours in which supply is not restored, up to a cap of £700.
Poole RNLI out in Poole Harbour during Storm Eunice
Rail passengers advised not to travel unless essential
The through train service from Weymouth to London, calling at Wareham, was meant to be reinstated from Monday 21st February 2022.
However, rather than marking a return to a pre-Omicron level of service, South Western Railway is now strongly advising passengers to consider whether their journey is essential and make other plans if they can, due to the weather.
Christian Neill from South Western Railway said:
“We are sorry for the continuing disruption these storms are causing. It has been an incredibly challenging few days and our teams have been working tirelessly to clear the tracks to safely run as many trains as possible.
“With more severe weather expected on Monday, we are asking customers to consider whether their journey is essential and make other plans if they can”
SWT says that tickets booked for travel on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday will be accepted on Tuesday 22nd February 2022.
This tree caused rail disruption at Netley, between Southampton and Portsmouth
More than 50 trees cleared from the track
It also said that Network Rail had cleared more than 50 fallen trees from the South Western Railway region since Storm Eunice hit on Friday.
Once the weather disruption is dealt with, the new train timetable will mean more trains and passengers from Wareham won’t have to change at Bournemouth for London or Southampton.
In January 2022, SWR was forced to introduce a temporary timetable in response to staff absences caused by the spread of the Covid variant, Omicron.
View across to Ballard Down in Swanage
Swanage weather set to improve
Once Storm Franklin has passed through on Monday 21st February 2022, the weather in Swanage is set to improve for the rest of the school half term holiday, with fine, dry days and relatively warm for the time of the year.