Page last updated at 13:57 GMT, Monday, 20 September 2010 14:57 UK
Extreme weather in Herefordshire and Worcestershire

Extreme weather in Worcestershire
by Andrew King - Meteorology student at the University of Reading

Evesham floods
Flooded streets in Evesham, July 2007

The location of Worcestershire, in the heart of England, characterises the county's weather.

In summer, Worcestershire can record some of the hottest temperatures in the country - on 3 August 1990, the mercury soared to 37C (98.6F) in Worcester.

During recent winters though, temperatures of below -10C (14F) have been recorded in some more rural parts of Worcestershire.

Car submerged in flood water
Car caught in flood water, July 2007 (photo: Nigel Wood)

Continental climate

The inland location of the county gives it a more continental climate compared to coastal areas of the UK, and so slightly more extreme temperatures are to be expected.

Worcestershire can be affected by severe weather, and is particularly susceptible to flooding.

Much of the county lies in the flood plain of the UK's longest river, the Severn.

Towns such as Bewdley and Upton-upon-Severn, as well as the city of Worcester, all frequently suffer flooding after periods of prolonged heavy rain in mid-Wales, where the source of the Severn is situated, and the West Midlands.

Major flooding

In recent years there have been several major flood events in Worcestershire.

In November 2000, the Severn reached its highest level in 53 years at Worcester, causing widespread flooding of roads and properties in the city centre.

Rescue helicopter
Rescue helicopter in Pershore (photo: Chris Parsons)

The floods of June and July 2007, which affected large areas of the UK, caused flooding along the Avon, Severn and Teme in Worcestershire.

One motorist died near Pershore as a result of the flooding.

Also, flooded roads left many communities stranded for a few days in late July until the floodwaters receded.

The RAF airlifted people from flooded homes, and large volumes of crops were ruined.

In future, Worcestershire may have to cope with more severe flooding, as climate change may cause such events to become more frequent.

Extreme weather in Herefordshire

by Howard Kirby - Summer 2007 in Herefordshire

Flloded Widemarsh St, Hereford
Widemarsh Street in Hereford flooded (photo: Garry Thomas)

The county of Herefordshire is one of the more sparsely populated of the English counties, being mostly rural, with a series of market towns and the city of Hereford itself.

Land use is mostly a mixture of arable and pastoral, with the two biggest employers producing meat and cider.

The catchment of the River Wye, with its tributaries the Lugg, Arrow and Frome, takes up a large part of the county.

Therefore flooding is often one of the more significant hazards for Herefordshire residents to endure, as a result of wild weather.

This was very much the case during the summer of 2007.

M50 flooded
Flooding on the M50 in Herefordshire (photo: Nick Sturdy)

Intense downpours

After a very dry and sunny April in 2007, it would have been easy to start thinking of a long hot summer ahead, but, as May began, so the weather patterns began to change.

The high pressure, which was so dominant in April, retreated, allowing rain bearing low pressure systems across the UK.

The month was wetter than average, with Ox House Farm in Shobdon recording 154% of the average rainfall.

This was only a taster of what was to follow though.

After an early dry and warm period in June, low pressure returned, bringing with it heavy showers and thunderstorms.

Intense local downpours caused flash floods and dangerous driving conditions.

One of the more notable downpours occurred on the 19th when a type of thunderstorm called a Mesoscale Convective System (MCS) moved northwards across the county during early evening, displaying a very dramatic looking cloud base, with numerous lightning strikes and intense rainfall.

This had many Herefordshire residents looking skyward in awe.

The next few days provided little relief from the heavy showers before another low pressure system developed over the UK.

This one had a more organised rain band which covered the whole county, producing persistent rain which lasted all day on the 25th.

Some areas recorded up to 75mm in 48 hours, with Eastnor getting 34mm in only 24 hours.

Many minor roads became impassable, vehicles got stuck and rivers burst their banks.

Fields became lakes, as the ground reached saturation level.

Canoeist by a submeged car
A car submerged in a flood at Bodenham (photo: Frankie Devereux)

Memorable summer

July continued on a wet and showery theme, giving little time for drying out to occur.

On the 20th, persistent, heavy rain once again fell over the whole county.

Upper Colwall recorded over 103mm in 24 hours.

The landscape simply couldn't cope with any more, and huge floods resulted, as rivers spilled into fields.

Roads became raging water channels, making the journey home that Friday evening highly dangerous and very memorable indeed!

Villages, such as Eardisland, became completely cut off, as sandbags were being desperately placed around houses to prevent further water damage.

Many crops were destroyed, and livestock moved to higher ground.

Even the River Teme at Burrington Bridge was only 20cm below the centre arch the following day, which made for some dramatic photographs.

The rainfall on 20 July 2007 was an unforgettable event, producing truly dramatic results, and could be summed up as the climax to a memorably wet summer.

It was with great relief to the residents of Herefordshire that the wet weather did not continue into August.

Other wild & extreme weather

Unusual cloud formation

A Worcestershire man photographs an unusual cloud he saw during a thunderstorm and wonders if it was a tornado in the making.

Uprooted willow tree

A 'twister' in Martley, Worcestershire, uproots a tree and causes other local damage - see pictures from local people.

The River Severn frozen in 1885

Local historian Clive Haynes has details of the most severe winters to hit this area, since the 1600s.

Hottest dayHottest Day 37.0Barbourne on 3rd August 1990
Windiest dayWindiest Day 87 mph Pershire on 2nd January 1976
Sunniest monthSunniest Month 309.6 Hours July 2006 at Ross-On-Wye



SEE ALSO
Electrical storm: Worcestershire
24 Sep 10 |  Nature & Outdoors

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