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Last Updated: Friday, 31 August 2007, 04:41 GMT 05:41 UK
2007 'probably wettest UK summer'
Garden shed in flooded garden
Homeowners and businesses are still recovering from the floods
Torrential rain across the UK is likely to mean the summer of 2007 will have been the wettest since records began in 1914, Met Office figures suggest.

Provisional tallies show a total of 358.5mm (14.114in) of rain fell on the UK, narrowly beating the previous 1956 record of 358.4mm (14.110in).

However, more data has to be collected, which may push 2007 into second place.

The weather has been attributed to an unusually southerly jet stream, which brought depressions across the country.

'Very disappointing'

Keith Groves, head of forecasting at the Met Office, said: "These figures confirm what most people have already been thinking - this summer has been very wet and very disappointing for most."

The jet stream is a band of high-powered winds that determine weather systems across the UK. For much of the summer it was further south and stronger than in previous years.

Heavy rain in June saw severe flooding in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and the Midlands.

About 7,000 homes in Hull and more than 1,200 in Sheffield were affected.

In July swathes of England and Wales were left inundated after intense rainfall led to rivers bursting their banks.

WETTEST UK SUMMERS
2007 - 358.5mm*
1956 - 358.4mm
1985 - 342.7mm
1927 - 336.3mm
1931 - 327.0mm
* Provisional
Source: Met Office

Seven people died when the River Severn burst its banks in Gloucestershire, and more than 350,000 people were left without running water after a treatment works was submerged.

Flood damage

In Hereford and Worcestershire, local authorities called in the RAF after thousands of motorists became stranded on the M5.

The operation to airlift people from cars, boats and their homes was one of the RAF's biggest peace-time manoeuvres.

The scale of the damage led to the government lodging an application for support under the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for coping with natural disasters.

Flood Recovery Minister John Healey said the total cost of the flood damage was now estimated at 2.7bn.

The Association of British Insurers has claimed the cost of the flooding may be as high 3bn.

Graph



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30 Jul 07 |  629

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