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Wild weather in Lincolnshire

The 1947 floods in Gainsborough's Melrose Road
In 1947 melting snow caused wide spread flooding in Gainsborough

Former TV weather presenter Ernie Pepperdine takes a look at the history of flooding in Lincolnshire and the modern day threat to the people living in the Wash.

Lincolnshire (or "Bomber County" as it is known because of the several dozen war-time airfields, most of which have since been ploughed over) is a long county from north to south.

As you head north from the fens up into the Wolds ('Tennyson country') the climate is progressively colder so that up near the Humber Estuary the average is at least half-a-degree cooler and more in line with East Yorkshire.

During the second-world-war the government announced plans to ration coal to households and "the north" was to get more than "the midlands". The whole of Lincolnshire was in the midlands so local councillors in the north of the county were soon shouting loudly there should be a 'north' allocation of coal.

I can't remember if they were successful, but since then when the title South Humberside was imposed in the 1970s there were loud complaints that they wanted to remain in Lincolnshire and at the next reorganisation this wish was granted.

It seems that weather variations are only to be stressed when it is expedient to do so. But the county does suffer from more serious weather.

Flood damage caused to a row of shattered and half submerged caravans at Butlins holiday camp, Skegness
Flood damage caused to a row of shattered and half submerged caravans at Butlins holiday camp, Skegness

When the winter snows melted in 1947 the River Trent overflowed and flooded large areas of Gainsborough.

Then six years later the North Sea floods devastated large areas along the eastern coastal zone. The floods were caused when an intense depression moved into the North Sea and produced strong northerly winds down the coast from Scotland to the Netherlands. These winds piled up the water so at high tide the sea burst through the flimsy sand banks and spread inland to the foothills of the Wolds.

Later that year large amounts of slag (waste products from the steel furnaces) were transported from Scunthorpe to provide more substantial sea defences.

It was several years before the farmers and sea-side towns recovered.

Now there is a flood risk to large areas around the Wash in the south of the county if the threatened sea-level rise occurs.

Much of this area is at or below sea-level and is only viable for farming or villages because of extensive drainage works several centuries ago. Clearly if climate change results in higher sea-levels then the pumped drainage will soon be overwhelmed and the area may have to be evacuated.

Hottest dayHottest Day 35.8Bourne on 3rd August 1990
Coldest dayColdest Day -18.6Lincoln on 18th December 1981
Windiest dayWindiest Day 93 mph Waddington on 2nd January 1976



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