Story at a glance

  • On Nov. 15 the rainstorm broke the previous record for autumn rainfall.
  • Thousands of homes have been impacted by the flood.
  • A recent study connected increased autumn rainfall in the UK to climate change.

Regions around England and Wales are facing record-breaking rainfall that has burst riverbanks and flooded towns. Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, the Midlands, and Yorkshire have all been impacted by floods, The Guardian reports.

In 2000, the previous record rainfall year, 425.2 millimeters of rain fell between September 1 and November 30. A weather station in Sheffield measured a new record on November 15th, at 427.6 mm and rising. The United Kingdom’s Environmental Agency issued 50 flood warnings on Sunday evening, indicating immediate action was required.

Monday was the fifth day of heavy rain and flooding, reports Gloucestershire Live. City officials have closed roads, and thousands of homes have been impacted.

"The most terrifying part was going to bed not knowing what we were going to wake up to," Karina Speaks, a resident of Chaceley whose house was flooded, told the BBC.

Around River Severn, which burst its banks from all the rain, cars became stranded in unexpected flood water. More than 100 vehicles had to be rescued by community members in the Severn Area Rescue Association.

Although early reports suggested that the flooding could be gone by Sunday, weather stations are only now seeing dryer weather on the horizon. Flooding is expected to continue through Tuesday, and water levels are being managed by pumping water out of flooded areas.

“We are starting to think about moving from emergency rescue response into recovery,” Martin Christmas of the Environmental Agency told the Guardian.

A recent study published in Nature connects recent shifts in flood patterns to climate change. The study specifically pointed to increased autumn rainfall in the UK, France and Germany as a result of climate change.

"A warmer atmosphere holds more moisture. Rainfall is increasing, so there's more water for the floods," Günther Blöschl, lead author of the study, told InsideClimateNews. "The storm tracks are farther north than they were in the past, which means the Mediterranean gets less, the northwestern regions get more rain."

Published on Nov 18, 2019