Wednesday 4 March 2020

Wettest February on record for the UK and Ireland: Three named storms crossed Ireland and the UK during February, Ciara, Dennis and Jorge bringing record rainfall and river levels

Flooding in York in the aftermath of Storm Dennis. York, UK, on Monday, February 17, 2020. Credit: PA

Wettest February on record for the UK and Ireland.

February 2020 has been the wettest February on record for UK, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the second wettest (behind February 1990) for Scotland. It has also been the fifth wettest of any calendar month in a series from 1862 behind only October 1903 (227mm), December 2015 (217mm), November 2009 (215mm), and December 1929 (213mm).

Three named storms crossed the UK during February, Ciara, Dennis and Jorge. The heavy rainfall throughout the month resulted in some severe impacts with many areas flooded, including parts of Yorkshire, Wales and the Midlands. John Curtin, Executive Director for Flood Risk Management at the Environment Agency said: “Record February rainfall and river levels have tested the nation’s flood defences; however we have been able to protect over 80,000 homes thanks to the action we have taken. February has been a notably mild, but not record-breaking, month for temperature. The Met Office


It was the wettest February since records began in many parts of the country, with some places experiencing once-in-100-years levels of rainfall. Two of the oldest weather stations in the country, Phoenix Park in Dublin and Malin Head in Donegal, had their wettest February since recording started in 1850.

Other weather stations that broke records were Shannon Airport, Co Clare (record length 74 years); Newport, Co Mayo (60 years); Claremorris, Co Mayo (56 years); Casement, Co Dublin (56 years); and Knock Airport (23 years). Weather stations at Claremorris and Shannon Airport had once-in-100 years amounts of rainfall. Ballyhaise, Co Cavan, recorded once-in-90-years amounts of rain. Finner, Co Donegal; and Gurteen, Co Sligo, recorded once-in-60-years levels of rain.

Met Éireann long-term forecasters said the frequency of extreme weather such as the February floods could be attributed to climate change. However, they cautioned: “Without further detailed analysis, it’s not possible to assess the role of climate change in this complex event.” The Irish Times

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