Torrential rain has caused widespread flooding – and there is more rain on its way.
In the 48 hours up to 21 December, Tyndrum in Perthshire received more than 102mm of rain, with Shap in Cumbria getting almost 62mm and Cardinham, Cornwall, 63mm. “There is more rain to come – it’s pushing in from the West tonight and we’re expecting another 20-30mm in places,” said a spokesman for the Met Office.
Paul Gainey of the Environment Agency said that the forecast remained unsettled over the Christmas period, and saturated soils and full rivers meant even quite small amounts of rain would cause surface flooding. “The water just has nowhere to go, which is causing a lot of problems,” Mr Gainey said.
The Environment Agency had more than 360 flood alerts and warnings in place across England and Wales, with another 31 in place for Scotland. Some villages had been completely cut off or evacuated, but while many vehicles had been abandoned, flooding of housing had been minimal, said Mr Gainey. “We’re pumping 5t of water per second off the Somerset Levels – the land just hasn’t been able to recover. Any more rain on top of what’s already fallen won’t be helpful.”
Rainfall in November was 111% of average, and by 16 December the year was already one of the wettest since 1910, said the Met Office spokesman. “By the end of the month it will probably be in the top 10 – if not the top five – which, considering we started off with a drought, is quite exceptional.”
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