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UK's wettest day on record had enough rain to fill Loch Ness

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 15/10/2020 Emma Gatten


General view outside the ground as the rain comes down ahead of the UEFA Nations League Group 2, League A match at Wembley Stadium, London. (Photo by Toby Melville/PA Images via Getty Images) © PA Wire/PA Images General view outside the ground as the rain comes down ahead of the UEFA Nations League Group 2, League A match at Wembley Stadium, London. (Photo by Toby Melville/PA Images via Getty Images)

The UK had its wettest day on record early this month in the wake of Storm Alex, with enough rainfall to fill Loch Ness. 

October 3 had average rainfall across the country of 31.7mm, beating the last record, on 25 August 1986, of 29.8mm. 

That makes it the wettest day since records began in 1891, with enough water to fill the 7.4 cubic kilometres of Loch Ness, the UK's largest lake by volume.

Although significantly higher levels of rainfall have been seen in the UK, Saturday October 3 (see video below) was unusual in the fact that it right across the country.

“When you look at the map, it’s clear that every location in the UK experienced heavy rainfall,” said Grahame Madge, a climate spokesman at the Met Office. 

“Although we’re not unaccustomed to a rainy day, to know that everybody from Scotland to the Isle of Wight experienced it at the same time is quite unusual.”

Mark McCarthy, head of the Met Office National Climate Information Centre, said: "In climate statistics, 2019 will be remembered for possessing the UK's hottest day, whereas 2020 will be associated with rainfall records."

This year also had the third wettest day on February 15 as Storm Dennis contributed to the wettest February on record

More than 20 counties across the UK have already had 100 per cent or more of their average October rainfall and many others are not far behind. Oxfordshire has been the wettest, with 148 per cent average rainfall followed by Buckinghamshire, reaching 139 per cent.

British winters are predicted to become wetter, with more extreme rainfall events even in summer as the climate heats up, because warmer atmospheres are able to store more moisture.

However, Mr Madge said it was trickier to draw a direct link between a single extreme rainfall event and climate change. 

“The pattern for temperatures is very clear but it’s fair to say that the rainfall record is more noisy, so we’re more subject to peaks and troughs in rainfall records,” he said.

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