Page last updated at 18:50 GMT, Tuesday, 1 December 2009

November was wettest month on record, says Met Office

Flooding in Cockermouth
Cockermouth, Cumbria, was one town badly affected by November's rain

The Met Office has said last month was the wettest November on record, with an average of 217.4mm (8.6in) of rain across the UK.

The weather station that recorded the highest rainfall last month was in Shap, Cumbria, with 621.4mm (24.5in).

The previous recorded average of 193.6mm (7.6in) dates back to 1951.

Severe weather at the end of November caused chaos to Cumbria's infrastructure, flooded 1,300 properties and killed a police officer.

Pc Bill Barker, 44, died as he was swept away in flood waters when Northside Bridge, in Workington, collapsed as he directed motorists away from danger.

The Met Office said isolated heavy downpours in places like Cumbria, south-west Scotland and Snowdonia had ramped up the average rainfall for the UK.

The statistics show that rainfall last month also set a new record of 197.6mm (7.78in) for England and Wales, breaking the previous high of 196.9mm (7.75in) which had stood since 1929.

The record for average November rain in Scotland was also broken, with 256.7mm (10.1in) falling, the Met Office said. The previous record of 244.8mm (9.6in) dated back to 1938.

The driest Met Office weather station was in Wainfleet, Lincolnshire, where only 69.6mm (2.7in) of rain fell.

And although it was the wettest November since 1914 - when the Met Office's records began - last month was warmer than average.

The average temperature was 7.3C (45.1F), which is 1.4C above the long-term average for November.

The warmest November on record was in 1994 when the average temperature was 8.8C (47.8F).

Flood fundraising

A Met Office spokesman said: "The interesting thing about this is not that it's a new record wettest November but it's how isolated the heaviest rain was through the month.

"Places like Cumbria, south-west Scotland and Snowdonia have received by far the most rainfall and turned it into a record month despite pretty dry conditions further east where lots of places have recorded less than 100mm (3.9in) of rain."

A fund set up to help the victims of Cumbria's devastating floods has reached £1m after just 10 days.

The Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund is providing financial assistance for those worst affected by the record levels of rainfall.

Many parts of the region are still cleaning up after the flooding.

Army engineers have begun building the foundations of a footbridge to reconnect the two halves of Workington.

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