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UK weather: wind and rain returns to Britain in ‘multi-pronged attack’



Strong winds and heavy rain have returned to the UK on Friday, adding to the prolonged flooding crisis in many parts of the country.

The Environment Agency currently has 17 severe flood warnings – meaning there is a danger to life – in place across the UK.

It warns that Windsor, Maidenhead and some communities in Surrey remain at high risk of flooding from the Thames, which has recorded some of its highest levels for 60 years. 

The Met Office has issued yellow and amber warnings for rain, wind and snow in a “multi-pronged attack”. Up to 40mm of rain is expected to fall in just six hours in some areas in the southwest of England.

Prime minister David Cameron told ITV’s Daybreak that the government would “fight at every front to help people“. 

“In this relief effort, as we face these dreadful floods, the money that needs to be spent will be spent,” he pledged. 

Around 16,000 homes and businesses across the country are also still without power after hurricane force winds battered the country on Wednesday.

There is some good news however, as forecasters say that next week’s weather should not be as wet or windy as we have seen in recent days

In a statement published on Sunday, the Met Office said it was likely that this “exceptional” weather was linked to climate change.

It said that while there was “no definitive answer on the possible contribution of climate change to the recent storminess, rainfall amounts and the consequent flooding”, there is consistent evidence suggesting that “daily rainfall rates are becoming more intense, and that the rate of increase is consistent with what is expected from the fundamental physics of a warming world”.

Chief scientist Dame Julia Slingo added, “There is no evidence to counter the basic premise that a warmer world will lead to more intense daily and hourly rain events. We have records going back to 1766 and we have nothing like this.”

Government advisers last week warned that the UK must spend an additional £500m over the next four years to prepare for the increased risk of flooding brought by climate change. 

Further reading:

UK weather: north-west and Wales on red alert ahead of 100mph winds

David Cameron: ‘money is no object’ in dealing with UK floods

Met Office: evidence says ‘exceptional’ UK weather is linked to climate change

The floods should impel our essential services to review climate change risks