EMERGENCY and arboriculture teams are on high alert as heavy rain and wind is expected to continue throughout the weekend.

Hampshire County Council has increased the number of teams this afternoon to deal with any incidents in the county.

Main routes will be salted regularly from tonight because of the added risk of freezing temperatures.

Councillor Sean Woodward, executive member for economy, transport and environment, said: “With more than twice as much rain as an average January already in the ground, the news that we are expecting another bout of heavy rainfall at the same time as high winds and lowering temperatures means we all have to be especially careful on the roads.

“Even though these are not the strongest winds we’ve seen this winter, trees are likely to fall as their roots are less stable in the saturated ground. Our tree crews will work on blocked roads in priority order, clearing the main A roads of any fallen trees or branches first.”

Extra crews will work through the night and the weekend using gully tankers to deal with flooding.

Cllr Woodward added: “More rain means that ground water levels will rise again, particularly in areas of Hampshire near rivers. We will be doing all we can to get water off the roads, but with the ground already saturated, and many ditches and rivers already full, this will be difficult in places with nowhere for the water to go.

“With a return to overnight frosts, I would ask people to take particular care on the roads and pavements as the groundwater flowing onto the roads could freeze.

“I’d also ask drivers and cyclists to take extra care going through water as potholes may have formed underneath as the relentless cold, wet weather is likely to have a significant impact on road surfaces.”