4 Jan 2013

Britain marks second wettest year

12:41 pm on 4 January 2013

Britain has suffered its second wettest year on record in 2012, according to the national weather agency.

In a year that saw swathes of Britain hit by flooding, the Met Office said total rainfall for 2012 was 1330.7 millimetres, just 6.6mm short of the record set in 2000. Records go back to 1910, but four of the five wettest ever have been since 2000.

"The trend towards more extreme rainfall events is one we are seeing around the world, in countries such as India and China, and now potentially here in the UK," Met Office chief scientist Julia Slingo said.

"Much more research is needed to understand more about the causes and potential implications."

At least three people died in floods in southwest England and Wales in November last year, while torrential rain caused widespread road and rail disruption in the run-up to Christmas, AFP reports.

The Environment Agency said almost 8000 properties were flooded during 2012, while the National Farmers Union said the bad weather had cost farmers some £1.3 billion

A drought at the beginning of the year saw about 20 million Britons banned in April from using their garden hoses - but the skies opened days later, delivering the wettest April in more than 100 years.

The hosepipe ban was lifted in June.