7 Dec 2015

Flood risk to continue this week

Storm Desmond brought exceptional amounts of rain at the weekend, causing serious flooding in north western parts of the UK – especially across Cumbria.

Hundreds of homes were flooded, transport severely disrupted and tens of thousands left without electricity as the combination of torrential rain and severe gales battered the region.

The Met Office issued its highest tier red warning for rain, with scores of severe flood warnings issued, advising that there was a “danger to life” and that immediate action needed to be taken.

CARLISLE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 06: A rescue team helps to evacuate people from their homes after Storm Desmond caused flooding on December 6, 2015 in Carlisle, England. Storm Desmond has brought severe disruption to areas of northern England with dozens of flood warnings remaining in place. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Even though the rain has now stopped, further rain is expected this week, meaning that the flood risk is going to continue.

How much rain fell?

According to the Met Office, a new UK 24-hour rainfall record has been set, with Honister Pass, Cumbria recording 341.4mm at the weekend, beating Seathwaite’s 316.4mm in 2009 Cumbria floods.

Across other north western parts of the UK, 180-200mm fell widely, with 178mm at Keswick in Cumbria, 171mm at Capel Curig in Gwynedd and 139mm at Eskdalemuir in Dumfriesshire.

Given the fact that the ground was already saturated in north western areas, following a very wet November that saw double the average monthly rainfall, it is unsurprising that serious flooding took place.

More rain this week

The bad news is that more rain is expected in the flood-hit areas this week, which are still trying to recover from the floods at the weekend.

rainyweek_warnings_MO_wpHowever, the good news is that the rain won’t be as intense or as prolonged as it was during the weekend, with amounts a lot less.

Nevertheless, given that the ground is still saturated and some flood defences may have been damaged, river catchments will remain very sensitive to even modest amounts of rain.

The Met Office currently has yellow “be aware” rain warnings for south west Scotland and north west England until Thursday.

The Environment Agency and Scottish Protection Agency warn that generally there’s a low risk of further flooding, although Tayside has a medium risk of flooding during Wednesday and Thursday.

Looking further ahead, there are hints that high pressure may bring drier, settled weather towards the middle of the month, but for now, the detail remains a little uncertain.

Don’t forget, you can get the latest forecast on the Channel 4 Weather website. I’ll also be posting regular updates on Twitter – @liamdutton

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