Wettest year for more than a century in region
THIS year is the wettest ever - and that is official.
Figures released today confirm 2012 - which included one of the driest spells on record - was the wettest in Essex’s history.
The average rain for the year is set to be recorded at 788mm - compared to just 453.7mm in 2011. The previous record was in 2001 when 779.6mm fell in East Anglia.
And yet in April Anglian Water was forced to announce a hosepipe ban as it battled with a drought. At the time experts said only extraordinary weather would lift the ban - by June reservoir were back to normal.
But it did not stop raining then. Throughout the year drivers have battled submerged roads, farmers have been working on water-logged fields and rivers have burst their banks.
And even the Queen had to battle inclement weather as she tried to enjoyed the Diamond Jubilee flotilla in torrential downpours.
And it has not got any better as the year has worn on - yesterday drivers found themselves stuck on some rural roads after more heavy rain.
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Last night forecasters said they were expecting a stormy weekend in the run up to the new year’s celebrations but did predict a continuation of the warm tempratures well into January.
Now farmers are now struggling to plant winter crops as vast pools of water remain on fields.
Brian Finnerty, spokesman for NFU East Anglia, said: “It’s been a very challenging year for farmers, they are used to dealing with the weather, it’s something they have to work with, but it’s been challenging this year.
“We’d like to see a return to more normal weather patterns for 2013. We speak to farmers about the drought situation and about building more resilience in their business – having access to reservoirs.
“This is going to be ongoing in the future with climate change happening, we will see more extremes of weather in the future.
“Farmers are finding it difficult to get on to fields - it’s very wet out there - farmers have not been able to put out their winter crops.
“We are seeing lower levels of planting than normal. They are doing the best they can in challenging circumstances.”
Andrewsfield, Essex, has had a total of 816.8mm this year compared to just 472.6mm of rain in 2011.
Steve Western, forecaster for Weatherquest said: “It’s currently one of the wettest autumns in living memory, farmers have had an appalling time. “We’ve had extreme rainfall in September and it’s not just the fact that it’s been wet - there’s been no dry interludes.
“We have had a constantly wet autumn, we have not had two dry days and this is what has caused the problem. The rain has fallen steadily over such a period that places are constantly water-logged.”