Wettest winter in England, Wales, for almost 250 yrs
LONDON (Reuters) - This winter has already been the wettest for almost 250 years in England and Wales, Britain's national weather service the Met Office said on Thursday.
Around 435 millimeters (17 inches) of rain was recorded up to February 24 in England and Wales, making it their wettest winter since 1766.
"New records have been set for many parts of the UK, with southeast and central southern England having seen well over double the rainfall expected in a normal winter," the Met Office said in a statement.
Provisional rainfall figures from December 1, 2013 to February 25, 2014 also show that Britain as a whole experienced its wettest winter since records began in 1910.
Over the past few months, heavy rainfall and storms in Britain, particularly in England and Wales, have resulted in the worst floods for the country in 50 years.
Floods have devastated homes and businesses, disrupted transport and ruined crops. Analysts at Deloitte estimate that the bill for repairs may end up reaching 1 billion pounds ($1.66 billion).
This winter is also set to be around 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than average, the Met Office said.
Britain's mean temperature has been 5.2 degrees C so far this winter, making it the fifth warmest winter on record.
"The main reason for the mild and wet winter weather is that we have seen a predominance of west and south-west winds, bringing in mild air from the Atlantic - as well as the unsettled and at times stormy conditions," the Met Office said.