Winter floods of last year were most extreme in Britain

London, Dec 5 (IANS) A new scientific review of the winter floods of 2015/2016 has confirmed that the event was the most extreme on record in Britain.

The event led to extensive river flooding in northern England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and parts of Wales over a three-month period.

During the three months of “remarkably persistent and exceptionally mild cyclonic” activity, which included Storm Desmond, and other major storms of Abigail, Frank and Gertrude, flooded 16,000 properties in England.

“‘At a national scale the winter floods of 2015/16 were the most extreme on record,” said lead author Terry Marsh from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in Britain.

“The November to January period was the wettest three-month sequence in the UK rainfall series — which begins in 1910. Correspondingly, river flows across much of the country exceeded bankfull for extended periods,” Marsh said.

“The associated flooding was both extensive and repetitive, and total river outflows from Great Britain following the passage of Storm Desmond in December exceeded the previous maximum by a substantial margin,” Marsh noted.

That December was the wettest and, on average, the warmest on record in Britain, in records going back to 1910, the review highlighted.

“The effects of the floods are personal. Thousands of Cumbrians, like people in other flood-affected parts of the country, have seen their lives upturned. Many have experienced life-changing financial losses and incredible stress,” Cumbrian resident Ed Henderson, a co-author of the review from the British Hydrological Society, said.

“Speaking with flood victims, the words that come out are despair, fear and anxiety — fear of flooding again and the anxiety of an approaching winter. Floods don’t just take your home, the place where you should feel safe, they often take your future as well,” Henderson said.

“Last winter’s devastating floods follow the winter 2013/2014 flooding in southern England and other severe events of recent years including the 2005 and 2009 floods in Cumbria,” study co-author Jamie Hannaford from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology said.

“Understandably, this leads to speculation that flood risk is increasing due to climate change,” Hannaford said in a statement issued by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.

–IANS

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