Downpours make 2012 England’s wettest year on record
Flood warnings for major rivers could hit new year travel plans
Thursday 27 December 2012
The year started with hose pipe bans and warnings of drought. It has ended as the wettest in England since records began. The Met Office said yesterday that at 1,095.8 millimetres the average rainfall across England in 2012 had already breached the previous high of 1,093mm in 2000.
With a further deluge expected over the final few days, it is also likely 2012 will be the third wettest in the UK as a whole since records began in 1910, and it still could be the wettest.
The figures came as more flood warnings were issued for the New Year period by the Environment Agency, with major rivers such as the Severn and Thames set to peak in some areas.
London’s flood defence system was activated for the first time since 2010. The Agency said it closed the Thames Barrier to prevent water flowing downstream from further up the River Thames, which has been deluged by rain for a week. More than 200 flood warnings and alerts are still in force, mainly in the Midlands, East Anglia and the south, for the next three days – 21 of which are for Wales in the next 24 hours. The ground is so saturated that even a slight rain will be enough to trigger floods, the agency said.
Heavy gales are also expected to add to the misery in the western half of the country. Travellers are being warned that train services are expected to face delays, particularly in the south east.
In Dorset, a flash of lightning is thought to be responsible for two fires which destroyed a school and a derelict hotel in Dorset. More than 55 fire fighters from three counties were called to Lytchett Minster Upper School, near Poole, which caught fire minutes after the roof of the Cliff End Hotel in Boscombe, Bournemouth, went up in flames just after 7am.
Six of the 10 wettest years in the UK have now occurred since 1998. The wettest on record is 2000 when 1,337.3mm of rain fell. It is followed by 1954 and then 2008, with 1,295mm. This year’s average UK-wide rainfall is 1,291mm, with much more than another four millimetres likely.
A Met Office spokesman said there was a chance that it could be the UK’s wettest year, although there would need to be an average of 46mm across Britain between now and 1 January.
“It is unlikely because that would have to be across the whole of Britain,” he said. “But I wouldn’t rule it out.”
He added that it was impossible to say whether the spate of wet years was due to climate change. “Britain is a wet country,” he said. “There will always be dry spells and wet spells. This year’s wet weather has been due to a buckled jet stream. Normally it is straight and pushes wet weather systems far to the north. It hasn’t done that this year.”
Oscar Pistorius trial: Defence witness contradicts athlete version
Oscar Pistorius trial: The case against Oscar Pistorius – and why the prosecution claims his story doesn't add up
South Korea ferry: Captain Lee Joon-seok could face criminal investigation as over 280 remain missing
Peaches Geldof dead: Private funeral for the family and friends of the socialite will take place next week
Shropshire criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
- 1 Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for sale...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
- 2 The Hobbit: There and Back Again set for possible title change
- 3 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Andre Johnson: Wu-Tang Clan-discovered rapper severed his penis and jumped from LA building
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...