England and Wales just suffered their wettest winter in nearly 250 years

Record rainfall may cost billions in damage

Topics: Extreme weather, Climate Change, rain, Floods, ,

England and Wales just made it through one hell of a winter.

According to data released Thursday by the Met Office, the government forecaster, it brought more rain than has ever been seen in 248 years of record keeping: with four days of winter to go, they’ve measured 435 millimeters (17 inches) of downpour, officially making it the U.K.’s wettest winter since 1766. The old record, of 423 millimeters, had been set in 1915. 

Along with that came rampant flooding, an estimated 1 billion pounds ($1.7 billion) in damage and seemingly endless debates over whether, and to what extent, climate change was responsible for the extreme weather.



In January, Prime Minister David Cameron caused controversy when he linked the rains to a changing climate (but not as much controversy as a local politician did by linking them to gay marriage). ”Colleagues across the house can argue about whether that is linked to climate change or not,” Cameron said. “I very much suspect that it is.”

Ed Milliband, the leader of the Opposition, agreed: ”The events of the last few weeks have shown this is a national security issue in our own country too with people’s homes, businesses and livelihoods coming under attack from extreme weather,” he said. “And we know this will happen more in the future.”

Lindsay Abrams

Lindsay Abrams is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email labrams@salon.com.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    "Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...