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Dorset suffers one of its wettest years in a century
12:00pm Wednesday 16th January 2013 in News
DORSET suffered one of its wettest years in a century, according to figures released for 2012.
Eight months of the year saw rainfall well above average, with annual rainfall in Weymouth at almost twice what the town usually receives.
The county also saw temperatures plummet at the beginning of the year and snow fall in the early weeks of February.
There was another arctic blast in November and an unexpected snowfall across the area.
Weatherman Bob Poots, pictured below, said 2012 was the wettest year since 1960 and the second wettest since 1880, when records for the area began.
The deluge caused chaos across the county in December, which, with 169.7mm of rain, was the wettest month of the year.
Close behind came April, with 158.1mm of rain – more than three times what would normally be expected, and the wettest April since 1880.
The downpours made up for a dry start to the year, which was so severe that environmentalists warned of the possibility of drought.
January, February and March all had lower than expected amounts of rainfall.
February had only a quarter of the amount it usually receives, based on an average calculated over a 30-year period.
Mr Poots said the year had been a ‘dramatic’ one.
He added: “It was the second worst year for rainfall that we have had since our records began in 1880.
“The only one that was worse was 1960.
“It has been a very dramatic year, there’s no doubt about that.”
July saw more than three times its average monthly rainfall in the first week alone, with a month’s worth of rain falling in a single day.
The adverse conditions caused residents in Weymouth’s Park District to be stranded in their homes, while people in Maiden Newton took shelter in the village pub, the Chalk and Cheese.
But events took a tragic turn when the weather was blamed for landslides causing the deaths of Derbyshire holidaymaker Charlotte Blackman and motorists Rosemary Snell and Michael Rolfe.
Mr Poots said: “At the beginning of the year the water boards were concerned with the lack of rainfall, but their fears were about to be reversed.
“The average annual rainfall in Weymouth is 744.8mm but 2012 almost doubled this to 1133.5mm.
“April, June and July each trebled the average, making this the wettest year since 1960.
“However, during the Olympic Games there was a respite in the weather, much to everybody’s relief.”