Dr Pete Inness
Lecturer, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading
Cockermouth Main Street at 3pm on Thursday, 19 November 2009.
Cumbria is England's most north-westerly county and as such is no stranger to unsettled weather.
Weather systems bringing warm moist air in from the Atlantic are regular visitors to the county.
Add in England's highest mountains which force the moisture laden air to rise and form clouds and it is no surprise that Cumbria is England's wettest county.
Cockermouth town centre during the 2009 floods.
Seathwaite in the centre of Cumbria holds the dubious honour of being England's wettest place, and rainfall exceeds 2 metres per year across a broad swathe of the more mountainous parts of the county.
On the 18th and 19th of November 2009 particularly heavy and prolonged rain across the Cumbrian hills led to widespread flooding in the county which devastated homes and businesses, washed away a number of bridges and even led to the death of a police officer who was directing traffic on a bridge which collapsed.
A weather system feeding warm, humid air from the subtropical Atlantic Ocean near Bermuda became virtually stationary over the Irish Sea.
As the conveyor belt-like feed of already saturated air hit the Cumbrian hills it rose, forming clouds that produced a new UK record 24 hour rainfall amount of over 316.4mm at Seathwaite.
In the 72 hour period from 0900 on the 17th to 0900 on the 20th, the rainfall total at Seathwaite was over 450mm - nearly half a metre.
With the ground already saturated by earlier rainfall events and rivers at near bank-full prior to the arrival of this weather system, the flooding was rapid, widespread and devastating.
You can find out more about "Wild Weather" in a special documentary on Monday 20 September, BBC One at 7.30pm.
|Coldest day|| -21.1||Ambleside in January 1940|
|Wettest day|| 316 mm ||19th November 2009 at Seathwaite|
|Windiest day|| 133 mph ||Great Dun Fell on 17th January 1993|