7 Mar 2014

Record-breaking winter of 2013/14 – infographic

Weather Presenter

Winter 2013/14 was exceptionally stormy across the UK, with at least 12 major winter storms battering the country. Heavy rain and flooding were prevalent, causing many records to be broken.

A powerful and fast-moving jet stream, estimated by the Met Office to be 30 per cent stronger than normal, spawned and catapulted storm after storm towards us.

Analysis of pressure patterns by the University of East Anglia suggests that this winter has had more severe wind storms than any other winter season in record that go back to 1871.

The storminess has been so great that southern and western coasts have taken a battering, with sea defences damaged and eroded.

One prominent image was the sea wall and railway line at Dawlish being washed away, with repairs now underway to fix the badly damaged infrastructure.

Flooding was a major story this winter, with parts of the Somerset Levels under water for three months, as well as severe river flooding along the River Thames – both causing thousands of homes to be flooded.

Given that most of southern England had two to three times the average rainfall this winter, it is no surprise that flooding was such a problem.

England and Wales had their wettest winter since records began in 1766, and the UK had its wettest winter since records began in 1910.

A report by the Met Office said that although no individual storm can be regarded as exceptional, the clustering and persistence of the storms was highly unusual.

Its chief scientist, Dame Julia Slingo, said that whilst the UK’s variable climate means that there is no definitive answer to what caused the storms, all the evidence suggests that there is a link to climate change.