Christopher C. Burt is the author of 'Extreme Weather; A Guide and Record Book'. He studied meteorology at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison.
By: Christopher C. Burt , 9:26 PM GMT on February 21, 2014
Flooding Worst in Modern Records for Southern England
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has described the recent flooding in southern England as “biblical” following the wettest December-January period on record. The Thames River has been flowing at its highest level for longer than any period since 1883 according to news sources.
Submerged homes in an unidentified neighborhood in southern England. Getty images.
Some 5000 homes have been flooded in southern England with the Somerset region worst affected where 150 square miles of land have been submerged by floodwaters. Damage from the floods is now estimated to have surpassed US$1 billion (630 million pounds sterling).
Satellite images of Somerset before the flooding and after (as of January 23, 2014).
A map of the rivers in flood in southern England that also shows the location of Somerset where much of the worst flooding has occurred. This was the situation as of February 12th. Map courtesy of The Economist magazine.
The floods are a result of an almost continuous series of powerful Atlantic storms sweeping over the U. K. since early December. One of the strongest of these storms hit just last week bringing winds of over 75 mph to a wide area. The container ship Svendborg Maersk was overwhelmed by 30-foot seas and 60-knot winds in the Bay of Biscay and lost 520 full containers overboard. This was the greatest container loss on record for a single incident (discounting, of course, vessels that have sunk or vanished in the past).
There is no end in site to the bad weather for England as the current and forecast surface charts show:
Current (Friday February 21st) synoptic chart and forecast chart (for Monday February 24th) continue to show a parade of storms sweeping across the Atlantic and impacting the U.K. with more rain and wind. Maps for U.K. Met Office, Crown copyright.
Below is a map of where the flood situation stands as of Friday February 21st:
Severe flood warnings continue for the Somerset region in southeastern England and 43 flood warnings and 109 flood alerts are also currently posted for most of the south-central portions of the country. Map created by Shoothill and published by the Environment Agency. You can follow the flood situation and updates of the above map on the Environment Agency web site here.
Christopher C. Burt
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