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Bloody big news: U.K. shatters long-standing weather record

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Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, February 4, 2014, 2:14 -

The United Kingdom's reputation for incessant rainy weather is almost ingrained into the national character, but it seems January may have been a bit too much.

The U.K. Met Office reports a large chunk of central and southern England from Devon to Kent and up to the Midlands had the rainiest January since 1910, with one station at Oxford University showing the highest readings since record keeping began almost 250 years ago.

The Met Office was already reporting broken rainfall records on January 28, with three days left to go.

That means rainfall totals in excess of 200 mm in many locations, while the Met Office estimates the UK as whole received around 151 per cent of its average rainfall, with local amounts topping 200 per cent of the historical average.

No one in the UK will be surprised to hear it, given the relatively mild conditions and deluges. The mean temperature was 4.8°C, around 1.1°C higher than average.

Those wet conditions explain some of the severe flooding that is occurring in Somerset and other parts of the southwest of England this month.

With the ground already saturated from January, the runoff from rising rivers this week has nowhere to go. More than 250 flood warnings are in effect across the country as a result.

Elsewhere, Wales, Cornwall and parts of the English south coast have had their waterfronts drenched and damaged by huge waves whipped up by strong winds.

At least one person was swept out to sea by the strong surf, while in Pembrokeshire, 10 people had to be rescued from a bus that was struck by a huge wave in Pembrokeshire, after the driver continued on through a road in the process of being closed.

No one was reported injured, but several communities, including Aberystwyth, are assessing the damage done to their waterfronts by the pounding surf.

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