Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

WET, WET, WET; It Seems to Have Been Raining Forever, and Many Popular Events Have Become a Total Washout. DAVID OLD Reports on the Impact of the Recent Downpours across the Region

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

WET, WET, WET; It Seems to Have Been Raining Forever, and Many Popular Events Have Become a Total Washout. DAVID OLD Reports on the Impact of the Recent Downpours across the Region

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID OLD

WET weather has blighted the summer, washing out any hopes of a spell of sun to top up your tan.

Twice the amount of rain has fallen in the first two weeks of August than the whole of the same month last year.

The wet conditions have left cricket cup competitions in disarray and the sport is just one wet weekend away from equalling last year's record-breaking washout.

There have been about 1,500 cricket matches called off so far this summer in the North - just 100 behind the last year's total, which was the second worst in living memory.

Punters at Newcastle Racecourse were left high and dry on Friday as the relentless rain saw the day's races called off.

Even top cricketers at Durham were left twiddling their thumbs as their top-of-the-table match at Riverside was abandoned without a ball being bowled last week.

The four-day washout left pools of standing water on the pitch.

Farmers are also counting the cost of the downpours which have blighted their crops.

National Farmers' Union spokeswoman, Rachael Gillbanks said: "The main problems are to do with quality. As soon as a crop gets to maturity it needs to be harvested, otherwise it can start to sprout.

"Damp conditions also encourage fungal diseases, such as blight. Farmers are desperately trying to get in what they can."

The cost of drying out crops is also crippling farmers, especially with driers running on high-priced fuel.

Forecasters say Northumberland had seen 146% of the predicted rainfall for August by Sunday, with 108.3mm falling in the county.

That figure is sure to have risen after several more days of rain this week.

And it dwarfs last summer's recordings, when just 50.3mm fell during the whole month.

The gloomy weather has also affected Durham, which recorded 107% of its projected rainfall for the month in the same period.

However, there are signs they weather could be drying up by the end of the month.

John Hammond, from the Met Office, said: "It won't be wall-to-wall sunshine but we certainly will see some improvement. …

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