Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Flood Scares as the Rain Goes On

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Flood Scares as the Rain Goes On

Article excerpt

Byline: By Tony Henderson

Flood watches were in place across the North last night as the heavy summer rain showed no signs of relenting ( and environmentalists warned that extreme weather conditions could be in the region to stay.

This summer has already seen twice as much rain as last year, forcing river levels to rise rapidly ( and last night there were warnings of much more to come.

Predictions on how climate change would affect the region have centred on milder winters and wetter summers and environmentalists warned the intense rain was a wake-up call on the gathering effects of global warming.

The Environment Agency has set up flood watches ( the first of three levels of alert ( for the rivers Tweed, Till, Coquet, Wansbeck, Blyth, Rede, Pont, Tyne and the Wear.

Flood watches carry a "beware" status that flooding is possible.

The next level is a flood warning which means flooding is expected and then severe flood warning when there is risk to life.

Flood watches are also in place for Cumbria for the River Eden, south and west Lakes and south Solway.

Recent weeks have already seen sporadic flooding in Wark, Wooler, Bellingham and Backworth. "The river catchments are very wet and rivers are responding very quickly to any rainfall so we are seeing rivers rise quite rapidly in the North-East," said an agency spokeswoman.

"At present there are no rivers at flood warning level. But the more rain we get the more concerned we are and we are keeping a very close eye on the situation."

By last night 277mm of rain had drenched the region since June ( compared to 140mm last summer.

It is a complete turnaround from last summer when the North basked in some of the hottest conditions on record and rainfall was down a third on the regional average.

Spadeadam on the Cumbria-Northumberland border has already had 222m of rain so far in August, against an average for the whole month of 118m.

Newcastle has received an August deluge of 125mm when the average is 65mm. …

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