Our Year of Unpredictable Weather! So it is official, 2012 was the second wettest year here in the UK since records began back in 1910. Over the last few years we have seen our fair share of unpredictable weather; 2006 saw a heat wave in July, huge floods in 2009 and in 2010 we experienced “the big freeze”. At the beginning of this year there were worries and concerns as to what was going to happen to crops as a result of two dry winters. There was a drought warning and farmers, water industry officials and politicians attended a water summit. There was a hosepipe ban introduced in April of last year in the South and South East of England as a result of the dry winters. By July these were lifted due to the huge rain fall. After the two years of dry winters, spring and summer ended up being the wettest in 100 years. After a desperately wet summer, things were not looking good for winter and once again there was more rainfall. With the weather continuing in this fashion farmers around the country struggled with their crops. On top of this, rivers overflowed causing unthinkable damage to thousands of properties. In contrast though, the previous year, 2011, was the second warmest in the UK on record. We had the hottest April and spring, the second hottest autumn and the hottest day in October since records started. As there is no real pattern to what weather we will experience it is best to make sure your air conditioning units are serviced and well maintained all year round, even if it is as wet as 2012! With this much unpredictable weather who knows what 2013 will hold for us weather wise. Let’s hope it is a hot one! White Christmas or More Weather Warnings? We have probably all gotten our hopes up for a white Christmas this year. The early snow fall did indicate this is the way the weather was going to turn out. Well unfortunately we will just be subjected to even more rain (if this is possible!) Christmas is going to be a soggy one. The weather warnings that have come as a result of heavy rainfall mean that the transatlantic mild fronts have been sent on their way and our chances or snow are dwindling. In areas such as Cornwall and Devon there have been amber weather warnings. This mean anyone in this area needs to be prepared for potential flooding. When the time comes this means all furniture and white goods such as refrigeration units should be moved or protected. There has been a yellow weather warning issued in the Midlands for when this bad weather moves from Cornwall upwards. By Thursday, those in Yorkshire will also have a yellow weather warning. Things aren’t going to improve over the weekend either, there is yet more rainfall pushing its way through the country. The Met Office has said this, “Very unsettled and windy, with occasionally heavy train pushing north-eastwards. “Further locally heavy rain is likely midweek separated by drier showery interludes, with the best drier weather likely to be in the east. Strong to gale-force winds are also likely in places, but especially in the north-west. Temperatures will mostly near or perhaps a little above normal, although patchy overnight frost remains likely, a pattern that should continue in the run up to the New Year, with similarly unsettled conditions likely to prevail.” A Very British Summer As we all know by now, this has to be one of the wettest summers we have experienced for a long time. However, things don’t look like they are about to brighten up anytime soon. For the rest of August it is predicted to be sunshine and showers again, so don’t put away your raincoat or umbrella away anytime soon. In the north it looks like it is going to be more rain than in the rest of the country. If we are to see any sunshine this summer it will be the south that gets the full benefit but rain is still likely during the rest of the month. The good news is that there are no weather warnings around the country which means that August is already shaping up to be a better month than June. Many are still finding use for their air conditioning units though as these constant sunny and rainy spells are causing the air to become muggy and uncomfortable. Remember to make sure your air conditioning unit has been properly serviced in case the summer suddenly bursts forwards and we are overwhelmed by a heat wave. Even if this isn’t the case it is essential to make sure they are properly maintained especially with a few cases of legionnaires disease reported over the last few weeks. If you are managing to escape the wet weather here in England let us know below or on Twitter. Olympics and the British Weather Of course with the Olympics right around the corner and the British weather not getting any better there is a wonder are we going to get poured on while watching the events? As everyone who has ever planned an event in the summer in England will know, the very likely possibility of rain needs to be considered. Not only do organisers need to make sure the entire Olympics run smoothly, they also need to make sure there are extra plans in place in case it rains. This means considering millions of spectators, 70,000 volunteers and 10,500 world class athletes. There have been 250,000 red white a blue ponchos have been added to the stock lists inside the shops at the venues just in case. There will also be Olympic branded umbrellas for sale making sure everyone will stay dry. Although there has been no mention of how many air conditioning units are being fitted! The Met Office has created a five person team, dedicated to predicting weather conditions while the Olympics are on. However it has been reported that it is far too early to make any accurate predictions for when the games kick off on July 27th. The organisers of the Olympics are confident that if it does rain it won’t affect any plans. Debbie Jevans who is the director of sport for the LOCOG has said, “By definition, being British you have no choice but to prepare for the weather. “Clearly if you gave me the choice of rain or no rain, you’d rather have no rain and that’s for the spectators as much as anything else. “We’ve known from day one what we looked across the sports that they will happen whether it is raining or not, and so the plans have always included that.” Flash Flooding Disrupts Most of the Country Most of the country has experience serious and continuous downpours over the last 36 hours and they are expected to continue to threaten many homes as rivers break their banks. The Met Office issued another weather warning this morning as there was 60 mm of rain falling on already saturated ground across Wales and South West England. Due to the severe weather, Thames Water, Anglian Water and Southern Water will lift their hosepipe bans tomorrow which have been in place since April. The bans were put in place after two consecutive dry winters. A spokesman for Thames Water said, “We have had two-and-a-half times the average rainfall for April, we have had steady showers in May and the monsoon downpours in June. That’s changed things.” There have been four flood warnings put in place by The Environment Agency on rivers in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and West Sussex. Emergency services in these areas had to help 250 people and rescue centres have been set up where flood water has risen to 6ft. Many roads resemble rivers now due to the torrential rain and have left cars floating away. The A259, which is near Bognor Regis, and parts of the M3 in Hampshire have been effected which means many closures. As England has been in drought for the last two years, all this rain has meant that only average levels have actually been reached. This is helping to build up water stock as we experienced the driest March for 70 years this year. Just when we thought summer had come early and we all started to switch our air conditioning units on; we had to turn them off just as quickly. Today there is predicted to be even more, slow moving, showers across the country although it does seem to be moving north. The chief forecaster at the Met Office, Andy Page said, “Due to the nature of showers, some areas will miss them altogether, but where they do occur, large amounts of rainfall are possible in a short space of time which has the potential to cause flooding.” April Showers or April Washout? So the day is nearly over and we still have half a month’s rain to come in the next few hours. In the UK, this is expected to be the wettest day of the year with a predicted months worth of rain to fall in just 24 hours. There have been four severe weather warnings across the UK as the high winds and heavy rain will be carried over the country for what looks like could be till the later part of tomorrow afternoon. Weather forecasters are also predicting that our April showers won’t end at the end of the month; they look set to continue into May. The worst hit areas are expected to be in Eastern Scotland and in the South of England. Unlucky for us! Paul Michaelwhite, a weather forecaster has said, “It’s an April washout rather than April showers as unusually deep, autumnal type Atlantic low pushes across the South. “This is an unusually active depression for the time of year, as the Atlantic is traditionally at its quietest during mid-to-late spring.” This is the complete opposite, however, to what is going on, on the other side of the world in New Mexico. They are experiencing the most uncomfortable temperatures. It has been reported that the student housing in Cervantes Village’s air conditioning isn’t programmed to come on till the last day April and many students have to sleep on their tiled floors just to keep cool. A lady who lives in the village has said her daughter has woken up with nose bleeds from the humidity and dry air. The housing officials say it takes 4 weeks to switch all 900 of the air conditioning units and although the process has started, the residents need to be patient as they are not at fault for temperatures reaching 15 degrees what is the seasonal average.