WATCH: Residents support Great South Run cancellations as strong winds batter the coastline

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As Storm Brian batters the city, residents say cancelling today’s Great South Run events was a wise move.

Local people have shown their support for the decision to call off the five coastal races which would have taken place in Portsmouth today.

Flood warnings in place around Portsmouth at Saturday lunchtime 

Picture from the governement's flood information service

Flood warnings in place around Portsmouth at Saturday lunchtime Picture from the governement's flood information service

More than 3,000 people were due to compete in the Great South junior girls, junior boys, wheelchair, 5k and mini-run events this morning, which were cancelled by organisers amid stormy weather – with gusts between 60-70mph forecast to buffet the coastline.

Taking a windswept stroll by the Hotwalls in Old Portsmouth, 58-year-old Ray Lovell, from Petersfield, said organisers did right by racers in calling the events off.

He said: ‘I think it’s right it’s been called off, especially for the little kids. It would be too windy for them – they wouldn’t be able to handle it.

‘While it’s not too bad at the moment, once the tide is in there will be really strong winds and even higher waves.

Seaweed washed up off Clarence Esplanade, near the Blue Reef Aquarium, in Southsea. Picture: Byron Melton

Seaweed washed up off Clarence Esplanade, near the Blue Reef Aquarium, in Southsea. Picture: Byron Melton

‘I think it will get a lot worse.’

Ray’s view was echoed by Southsea mum Becca Reeve, whose young children were due to take part in the races.

She said: ‘This weather is bonkers. My boys were supposed to be running so they are a bit gutted.

‘But given the warnings in place – which would affect the middle of their run – I think it’s better to be safe than sorry.

‘While I would rather my boys were having a great time running, I would prefer they were safe.

‘No-one wants to get hit on the head by a flying stone off the beach – or a flying tent.’

In a statement released by central government, coastal residents were warned of the possibility of flooding this weekend – and urged to avoid unnecessary danger through ‘storm selfies’.

Ben Lukey, national flood duty manager for the Environment Agency, said: ‘Environment Agency teams are on the ground, checking defences and taking precautionary action to close tidal gates and put up temporary barriers. We’re working with the Met Office and local authorities and are ready to respond as necessary.

‘We urge people to stay safe along the coast and warn against putting yourself in unnecessary danger by taking ‘storm selfies’ or driving through flood water – just 30cm is enough to move your car.’

In response to adverse weather conditions, Hampshire County Council warned of pressures on local infrastructure – including power lines, communications and transport susceptible to falling trees.

Councillor Rob Humby, executive member for environment and transport, said: ‘There are ten flood alerts in southern areas of Hampshire at the moment, so we are getting sandbags ready in case we need them, to help protect the highways.’

Met Office forecasts for the city today show a yellow weather warning – highlighting the possibility of strong winds until midnight.

Temperatures will peak at about 14C, with rainfall expected between 2pm and 9pm.

Flooding issues can be reported police by calling 101.