Washout Britain's wettest summer in a century


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The Independent Online

The washout summer ending today was the wettest in Britain for 100 years, the Met Office has said.

Provisional figures for this summer show it is likely to be the second wettest in the national rainfall record that goes back to 1910. But as the record was actually set in 1912, this year will go down as the most sodden summer for a century. Figures up to the 29 August show 366.8mm of rain fell across the UK from the start of June. The 1912 record is 384.4mm.

Summer 2012 is also likely to be one of the dullest summers on record with just 399 hours of sunshine up to 28 August. This makes it the dullest summer since 1980 when the UK saw only 396 hours of sunshine.

To complete the disappointing picture, it has also been a relatively cool summer with a mean temperature of 14.0°C, some 0.4°C below the long term average. Despite this, it was a little warmer than the summer of 2011 which saw a mean temperature of only 13.7°C.

Unsettled weather has never been far from the UK during the past three months, thanks in large part to movements in the the jet stream, a narrow band of fast-flowing westerly winds high in the atmosphere,

The Environment Agency illustrated just how wet the summer has been yesterday disclosing that between 1 June and 15 July, it had issued over 1,000 river flood alerts and warnings, the most issued in a summer since 2007, which itself was very wet. On June 5 the agency sent out 63,356 direct automated telephone flood warnings – the most it has ever sent in one day.

Seven water companies across southern and eastern England brought in hosepipe bans earlier in the year after two unusually dry winters left some groundwater supplies and rivers low. But the hosepipe bans were lifted in June and July following weeks of heavy rain.

Britons spend more than six minutes a day talking about the weather, according to a recent survey by Pimm's. One in three of people use the weather as a way to break the ice with strangers., the poll showed.