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UK flooding put in context

Paul Hudson

With much more rainfall on the way in the coming days across all parts of the UK, this winter is certain to end up one of the wettest ever recorded.


The level of coverage in the media of the resulting flooding across the UK has been virtually unprecedented in the last few weeks.


The pictures of extensive flooding in Somerset, and the battering our coast has received, particularly in Cornwall, have been breath-taking.


But it is worth putting the current flood in context, and as distressing as it is to be flooded, the number of properties affected in the south of the UK is tiny compared to other floods in previous years.


For example, up until this weekend the total number of properties affected by floodwater in Somerset in the last few weeks is 40.


But during the coastal surge in early December last year, 688 properties were flooded along the Yorkshire coast alone, and according to the Environment Agency, flood defences protected 66,000 properties in the Yorkshire and Humber area at that time.


Since last week,  between 800 and 900 properties have flooded in the UK, primarily in southern Britain.


Although this number may rise significantly in the next few days, particularly with the Thames now at record levels in relatively highly populated parts of Berkshire and Surrey, it is still comparatively small compared to the last big flood to hit the UK. 


That was In June 2007 and far more people were affected; in the Yorkshire and Humber region alone, a staggering 23,479 homes were flooded, along with 3,718 businesses.

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