U.K. Posts Wettest Winter in 104 Years With One Week Yet to Go

Feb 20, 2014 12:37 pm ET

Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- The U.K., suffering from floods across the south of the country, had its wettest winter since nationwide records began in 1910, with nine days remaining.

The country had 486.8 millimeters of rain from Dec. 1 through yesterday, beating the previous record of 485.1 millimeters set in 1995, the Met Office said today in a statement on its website. The government forecaster defines winter as December through February.

The rainfall has contributed to flooding across southern England that led the River Thames to breach its banks west of London at the end of last month, inundating more than 1,750 homes. As of 4:55 p.m. today, the Environment Agency had in place two severe flood warnings, indicating a threat to life, and 75 further warnings, many of them along the Thames.

“Although it is currently an improving picture across most of the country, we will continue to see the impacts of flooding for many days to come,” Paul Mustow, a flood-risk manager at the agency, said today in an e-mailed statement.

The agency earlier this week lifted 14 severe warnings that were in place along the Thames.

The two severe flood warnings that remain in place are in Somerset, southwest England, where the Met Office says it’s carrying out the country’s largest-ever pumping operation, with more than 65 pumps removing millions of tons of water daily.

Wet Christmas

All roads to the villages of Muchelney and Thorney remained unpassable today and are now approaching two months under water, according to Somerset County Council. The villages have been cut off since Dec. 24.

Regionally, London, Wales, southwest England, southeast and central southern England and east Scotland have all beaten their highest rainfall tallies in the data series stretching back to 1920, according to the Met Office.

The agency has already indicated that January was the wettest ever for southeast and central southern England in a longer regional data series stretching back to 1766. It didn’t say in today’s post whether the December-through-February period also looks like making a record for the region.

--Editors: Alex Devine, Tony Barrett