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High risk of unprecedented rainfall likely to result in more flood damage

New simulation-based Met Office research has predicted that the level of rainfall in England and Wales is likely to continue to break new records, resulting in more flood damage restoration services.

In the last few years several rainfall events have caused widespread flooding in the UK. In winter 2013/14 a succession of storms hit the UK leading to record rainfall and flooding in many regions including the south east. December 2015 was similar, and Storms Desmond, Eva & Frankhit the northof England & Scotland causing widespread storm and flood damage.


The UNSEEN* method


By their very nature extreme events are relatively rare and random making conventional monitoring methods difficult.  So this new research set out to quantify the risk of extreme rainfall within the current climate, via different methods altogether.

Professor Adam Scaife, who leads this area of research at the Met Office said “The new Met Office supercomputer was used to simulate thousands of possible winters, some of them much more extreme than we’ve yet witnessed. This gave many more extreme events than have happened in the real world, helping us work out how severe things could get.”

The authors have named this novel research method the UNSEEN* method to emphasize that this analysis anticipates possible events that have just not yet been seen.  It was also used as part of the recent UK Government National Flood Resilience Review (NFRR)+ when the Met Office was asked to estimate the potential likelihood and severity of record-breaking rainfall over the UK for the next 10 years.

This new use for Met Office computer simulations could also be applied to assess other risks such as heatwaves, droughts, and cold spells and could help policy makers, contingency planners and insurers plan for future events


The findings

Analysing these simulated events:

  • • Found that, for England and Wales, there is a 1 in 3 chance of a new monthly rainfall record being set every winter, in at least one region
  • • Showed there is a 7% risk of record monthly rainfall in south east England in any given winter
  • • When other regions of England and Wales are also considered this increases to a 34% chance.


Dr Vikki Thompson, lead author of the report, said “Our computer simulations provided one hundred times more data than is available from observed records. Our analysis showed that these events could happen at any time and it’s likely we will see record monthly rainfall in one of our UK regions in the next few years”

The research has demonstrated that, even with the current climate, it is likely that there will be one or more monthly regional rainfall record events, in the coming decade.


Flood damage restoration requirements set to increase

For disaster recovery companies, like Rainbow International, the anticipation of record rainfall, coupled with the unpredictability of where and when it will fall, presents an ever increasing challenge for the delivery of rapid flood damage restoration services.

If the predicted climate trends are realised, the demand for rapid and efficient flood clean up and specialist flood damage restoration experts looks set to continue and these weather patterns could affect any part of the UK

Rainbow International’s has over 70 branches covering the country, and are on average just 23 miles from any postcode in the UK. They work regularly with insurers, householders, businesses and local governments to provide a range of disaster recovery services.

Find your local branch here or call our 24 hour helpline on 01623-422488 now to find out how Rainbow could help you following a flood, fire or accidental damage incident should you be affected by any weather or flood related incident.

Notes / Sources

* UNprecedented Simulated Extremes using Ensembles


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