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[09 AUG 99] WEATHER NEWS
Coventry's Heaviest Rainfall This Century

Coventry was in clean-up mode today after experiencing the heaviest day of rainfall in the city this century.

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue services were stretched to their limit as they received over five times the normal amount of calls between 11.00am and 11.00pm yesterday – mostly from people whose homes were flooded.

Bablake Weather Centre’s Steve Jackson admitted that the rainfall was unusual for this time of year but warned people that there could be more.

He said:

"The weather is quite visibly clearing up but it will degenerate again and there will be some more rainfall, but not to the same degree as Sunday.

"I can quite definitely say that Sunday was the wettest day of the 20th Century in Coventry, and the amazing thing was that most of the rainfall came after 7.00pm.

"There was actually 60.6mm of rain which is nearly three inches but what would have caused the real problems was the speed with which it fell."

However, Jackson refused to support theories that environmental conditions were causing weather conditions to gradually worsen over the years.

He said:

"I don’t think there is anything sinister in it to be honest. If I had to attribute the flooding problems then I would say that nearly all of them are caused by blocked drains.

"The ground has a huge capacity to absorb water but most of the flooding arises when the water never makes it to the earth and goes straight into the rivers.

"But I would certainly not start panicking about what is causing this and whether it is getting gradually worse – I don’t think it is."

And the weather expert told the hundreds of people who had been evacuated from their homes that they could go back – with caution.

He said:

"I don’t think we are going to see anything of this severity in the near future, but they are famous last words."

The flooding caused havoc across the region especially in Leamington and Warwick where fire services were forced to close all three main roads into the towns, including the A46 Warwick bypass.

The heavy rainfall also washed out campers at Stoneleigh's Royal Showground who were taking part in the Bible Week at the venue. Around 300 worshipers had to be moved to local schools when their campsite became flooded.

Fire services were on site for around five hours helping people evacuate, and the police, water authorities and the electricity board were all called out.

Organiser Nigel Ring said:

"Some people joked that it was an act of God but it was a very unpleasant night for those involved."
   

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CWN / Weather / 9 Aug 99

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM