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SHAKE AND BLOW
Sodden Britain marks second wettest year in 2012
by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Jan 03, 2013


Britain suffered its second wettest year on record in 2012, the national weather agency said on Thursday.

In a year that saw swathes of Britain hit by flooding, the Met Office said total rainfall for 2012 was 1,330.7 millimetres (52.4 inches), 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 Met Office added.

"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," said Julia Slingo, chief scientist at the Met Office.

"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, while torrential rain caused widespread road and rail disruption in the run-up to Christmas.

The Environment Agency said almost 8,000 properties were flooded during 2012, while the National Farmers Union said the bad weather had cost farmers some 1.3 billion Pounds ($2.1 billion, 1.6 billion euros).

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

The hosepipe ban was lifted in June.

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