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Taxi Workers in York Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

Weather Roundup: record breaking rainfall and warmest winter since 1934

You and your cousin have, I’m sure, noticed the weird weather we’ve been experiencing lately. We’ve had the warmest December on record since 1934, and also the wettest since records began in 1910, with a shocking 91% more rainfall than usual. There’s also been excessive flooding, most significantly in northern England and Scotland, as well as three severe Met Office named storms, Eva, Desmond, and Frank. 

Why is it so warm?

Over the Christmas holidays it’s felt much more like April and May, with temperatures around the UK ranging above 7C, which is pretty odd for this time of year. Rather than curling up around an open fire, or wrapping up in layers upon layers of knitwear, people have been wearing t-shirts and shorts.  This much warmer winter weather is due to the tropical maritime air mass that has spread to us from the Azores region, as well as being warm this air mass has also been very moist which has affected the rainfall in northern England, causing it to be excessive.

Will there be any snow? 

Many of us have been left disappointed that a white winter hasn’t sufficed, however, there will be some snow in the upcoming weeks as things are set to take a much colder turn. Unfortunately, Reading residents are unlikely to experience any snow (apart from a meagre sprinkling) as the snow is only expected to affect northern, eastern and western coast areas of the UK.  It will become much colder in Reading though as there will be a significant  jet stream of cold air blowing in from the Arctic, which means temperatures are set to drop to between 3-6C, and there will be extreme night time frosts with temperatures of -10C.

What’s going on with all the flooding? 

From Boxing Day onwards the major headlines on all news outlets were the severe floods in northern England. Storm Frank brought excessive devastation, with towns in parts of Cumbria and large parts of Yorkshire badly affected by heavy rain and high winds.

Homes were evacuated as the Met Office released multiple Amber warnings, which mean ‘Danger to Life’. Most notably, a historic 200 year old pub in Manchester was ravished by the floods, and a bridge in West Yorkshire partly collapsed splitting the town of Tadcaster in two.

Islamic Relief UK and York Mosques rallied to help victims and prevent further devastation to flood hit York by volunteering their help, within eight hours of the floods hitting they had bagged 80 tonnes of sandbags. Other help from all over the UK is also being offered and a relief fund to help those in need has been set up. The rainfall has now ceased but there is still great destruction left behind by the floods that will take months and millions of pounds to restore.

Commenting on the flooding, Floods Minister Rory Stewart said: “Certainly what we’ve seen is rainfall levels that nobody’s ever seen before.” Students who live in Northern parts of England should however have had no trouble returning to Reading as most of the rail issues caused by the floods were no longer present by the end of the holidays.

About Hannah Crofts

h.crofts@student.reading.ac.uk'

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