BRITAIN TO FACE FLOODS FOR 100 YEARS
Britain is set to face 100 years of wet weather due to climate change, experts have warned
Wednesday November 21,2012
By Nathan Rao
TORRENTIAL rain and fierce winds will wreak havoc across Britain over the next three days, forecasters warned last night.
Already flood-hit regions face a massive deluge in a matter of hours while gale-force gusts of 80mph are expected to cause structural damage and travel misery.
The Met Office yesterday issued a rare four-day severe weather warning for rain in the South-west and North-west, expected to get the worst of the deluge.
However the entire country is braced for a “very wet and windy” few days with no let up at least until the weekend.
The dire prediction comes as scientists warn flooding could become more common over the next 100 years as the UK’s rainfall becomes more extreme.
German researchers at the Institute of Physics’ journal Environmental Research Letters have warned climate change could trigger “extreme rainfall patterns” with the greatest impact in western regions.
The warning comes as the UK braves hurricane-force winds and up to two weeks’ worth of rain in just 24 hours.
Scores of families have been forced from their homes with firefighters on Tayside, Scotland, dealt with a “major incident” after a river burst its banks.
Jonathan Powell, forecaster for Vantage Weather Services, said: “We are looking at a very slight lull on Wednesday before the wind and rain charge back with a vengeance on Thursday.
“Areas that have not already flooded should be aware that this next hammering is likely to trigger some by the end of Friday.”
The Met Office said some regions could see more than an inch of rain today (Wednesday) with up to three more tomorrow.
Forecaster Sarah Holland said: “It is going to be a very unsettled week with rain raising the risk of flooding and some quite string gusts on the way.
“It is possible we will see some disruption to transport, and in some places the rain is going to be quite slow-moving leading to 40mm [1.5 inches] or more falling.
“The tomorrow there is the potential for another 60mm [2.3inches] at the top end of the scale tomorrow.
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“The reason for this is another band of low pressure from the Atlantic making for very wet and windy weather.”
Netweather forecaster Paul Michaelwaite said: “Staying generally unsettled for the rest of the week, with further wind and rain moving in across the north and west on Thursday, then spreading southeast across other areas on Friday before clearing in the evening to drier conditions from the west.”
The Environment Agency last night issued 24 flood alerts and four more serious flood warnings covering most of the South-west, central and eastern regions.
It warned people in Somerset, Devon, Dorset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire to be extra vigilant.
There are also warnings for the public to stay away from swollen rivers and not to drive through floodwater.
A spokesman said: “Successive bands of heavy and slow moving rain could lead to flooding in the coming days across parts of central, southern and south west England and south east Wales.
“Heavy rain falling on already saturated ground could lead to river and groundwater flooding, and strong winds could worsen surface water flooding, as wind-blown leaves and debris block water drainage.
“Environment Agency teams have been mobilised across the country to check on flood defences, clear any river blockages and closely monitor river levels. These teams work around the clock to reduce the risk of flooding, and will be out in force over the coming days.”
The study, by the German scientists in the Institute of Physics’ journal Environmental Research Letters, also found the pattern of rainfall around the UK is set to shift.
It claims heavy rain which usually arrives late summer in south-eastern regions will gradually move to autumn, while north-western regions will see rainfall in November rather than December.
Lead author of the study Anne Schindler said: “We looked at precipitation rates and the results show a shift from season to season.
“This brings the higher risk of flooding because heavy rain will coincide with when rivers are at full capacity and ground moisture is at a peak.
“It follows that there could be more extreme patterns of rainfall and these could be caused by other factors, although this needs further investigation.”
Britain’s extreme weather this year is set to continue with some experts predicting the coldest winter for 100 years.
James Madden, forecaster for Exacta Weather, said much of Britain can also expected the snowiest winter for a century.