Floods hit farms across Britain

Torrential rain has caused widespread flooding over the weekend, with 31 flood warnings issued across Britain.

Up to 30mm of rain fell in an hour in some parts of the country on Sunday (5 August), with slow moving thunderstorms affecting southern Scotland, northern England, Wales and south-west England.

A Met Office spokeswoman told Farmers Weekly: “Because of the nature of the showers, some areas recorded 20-30mm of rain in an hour, while other locations nearby had nothing at all.

“We’ve also had quite a few reports of funnel clouds, which, if they touch the ground, become tornadoes.”

In south Devon, homes were flooded in Dawlish and Kingsteignton, while further north in Somerset, emergency services evacuated householders in Nailsea and the Portbury area. A local farmer helped to clear debris after a landslip brought down soil, rocks and trees from surrounding fields.

Fortunately, the Somerset Levels, which had suffered badly in the spring floods, had not been affected. “We’ve just managed to turn our cows back out again,” said Jane Pine from Meare Green Farm, Stoke St Gregory. “They’re just grazing weeds and a bit of river bank, but at least they’re out.”

“We’ve also had quite a few reports of funnel clouds, which, if they touch the ground, become tornadoes.”
Met Office spokeswoman

Supposedly a one in 100-year event, the area had been badly flooded four times this year, destroying hundreds of acres of grassland. “We’re going to have to re-seed now, which, weather permitting, we’ll be able to do in the next few weeks,” said Mrs Pine.

Many farmers were still struggling to make first-cut silage, which would put additional strain on dairy producers this winter, said David Bolt, from Easter Ridge Farm, Cadeleigh, Devon. “With feed prices as high as they are, it’s going to be very difficult to make a profit over the next 12 months.”

Arable farmers were also being frustrated in their attempts to combine cereal crops, with Scottish producers particularly badly affected. “The weather has been atrocious,” said Andrew Peddie from Cornceres Farm, Anstruther, Fife. “We’ve snatched 4ha of winter barley at 24% moisture on light land. But the forecast is for more rain tonight. We’ll be moving onto heavier land next, and I’m dreading it, because we really struggled even just spraying it off. It’s just soaking underfoot.”

Flooding had been especially bad in the Jedburgh area, with police in Fife, Grampian and Tayside issuing warnings about surface water on many roads.

Wales had also suffered, with rivers bursting their banks in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire.

Heavy showers were likely to continue today and tomorrow, especially in eastern and north eastern England, said the Met Office. Fine weather was due to return – albeit briefly – towards the end of the week.

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