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The Wettest January Since Records Began

A VIOLENT Atlantic storm threatens three days of chaos across Britain as the wettest January on record comes to an end.

Gales of more than 90mph roared in yesterday while torrential downpours will heap more misery on flood-hit regions.

Yesterday saw the first taste of Storm Brigid with its full force due to be unleashed today.

Forecasters expect devastation and disruption on par with the storms that battered Britain last month and triggered gusts of 142mph in Scotland.

Meanwhile a series of low pressure systems lined up in the Atlantic threaten more heavy rain and winds, lasting possibly for another fortnight.

The Met Office last night issued alerts for torrential downpours and gales across the country over the next three days with a separate warning for snow in the North.

It comes as provisional Government figures show a swathe of southern England from East Devon to Kent and across parts of the Midlands has seen 6.9 inches of rain in January – twice the average for the month.

January 5 was the wettest day for the UK as a whole since records began in 1910.

Met Office chief forecaster Paul Gundersen said the South-west, where many places including the worst-hit Somerset Levels are currently under floodwater, will take the brunt of the new storm.

Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Bristol and South Glouces­ter­shire are most at risk and people in the North-west and Yorkshire were warned to be prepared.

Flood barriers have been put up at Frankwell in Shropshire as the River Severn threatens to overflow. In London, the Thames Barrier has been shut 13 times.

And at Aberystwyth University student halls along the seafront have been evacuated until Monday afternoon amid warnings of severe weather.

Jonathan Powell, forecaster for Vantage Weather Services, said Storm Brigid was showing all the signs of being as powerful and destructive as storms which ravaged the country in December. He said: “A very intense low pressure system is coming in from the Atlantic which is going to affect the whole of the country.”

Snow meanwhile, which has fallen as far south as Birmingham, means Britain’s ski resorts may enjoy a record season.

The Ski Club of Great Britain has reported snow depths of more than 9ft at Glencoe Mountain. Even Whistler in Canada, which hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics, and Kitzbuhel in Austria have so far managed barely more than 4ft.



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