Wettest Winter Ever: A comment on the ongoing floods in southern England

Contributed by Hannah Cloke, Fredrik Wetterhall and Florian Pappenberger

UK flood mapThe UK has been experiencing unprecedented amounts of rainfall in January and February and there is more rain on the way (likely it will be the wettest winter ever). This has led to significant flooding hitting many parts of the Southern UK, including large stretches of the land around the River Thames. The land is completely saturated and groundwater flooding is also a major problem. However, much of the media focus was for a long time on the Somerset Levels, a very low lying agricultural area, where some villages had been cut off and a few properties under water for nearly 8 weeks. The Prime Minister David Cameron made a pledge for extra money to begin dredging the rivers in response to an outcry from local residents that the flooding was caused by the Environment Agency not dredging the rivers. This piece (written on Sunday 9th Feb) was in response to this pledge. Comments would be very welcome. Note that this was a public engagement piece and so there is not a great deal of scientific description in it!

More reading:

Historical flooding in Thames

MetOffice on the climate impact on rain in the UK



  1. You might find this article in today’s Guardian by Paul Bates (and other colleagues at Bristol) an interesting read: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/feb/12/flood-crisis-dredging-climate-change

    1. This is a very nice article, in particular I like the final sentence/paragraph.

      I also really recommend to have a read through the discussion on dredging on LinkdIn (British Hydrological Society Group)

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