Earth Watch Report  –  Flooding

Residents wade along a flooded road near Egham, west of London, on Feb. 12. Flooded communities in Britain faced a fresh battering from storms and high winds.

Storm With 106-mph Gusts Hits Flooded Britain

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February 12 2014 05:31 AM Flood United Kingdom England, [Statewide] Damage level Details

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Description
As forecasters warn of snow, high winds and more rain into Wednesday, some 1,000 properties have been evacuated in the south of England. The 124 flood warnings across England and Wales include 14 severe warnings in Berkshire and Surrey and two in Somerset. Along the Thames Valley, warnings are in place from north of Oxford to the outskirts of London, with Chertsey, Colnbrook, Datchet and Wraysbury among the worst affected.

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Updated: Wednesday, 12 February, 2014 at 17:47 UTC
Description
Britain’s weather service says it sees the tentacles of climate change in a spate of storms and floods battering the country, but has stopped short of saying warming directly caused the extreme storms. The latest round of bad weather hit Britain’s west coast Wednesday with winds gusting at more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) an hour. The Met Office said in a paper published this week that “there is no definitive answer” on the role played by climate change in the recent weather and floods. But it said there is “an increasing body of evidence that extreme daily rainfall rates are becoming more intense,” probably due to a warming world. Met Office chief scientist Julia Slingo told the BBC that “all the evidence suggests there is a link to climate change.” The Met office study discusses evidence of increasingly extreme weather events and changes in the jet stream, but it does not say global warming caused the flooding. To do that, scientists take months, sometimes years, to conduct detailed computer simulations — and the report said such research was needed in this case. England had its wettest January since records were first kept almost 250 years ago, and the country has been lashed by wind and rain since December. Resulting floods have drenched the southwestern coast of England, the low-lying Somerset Levels and the Thames Valley, west of London, where hundreds of properties have been swamped as the river burst its banks this week. The Met Office issued a highest-level red warning of “exceptionally strong winds” Wednesday for west Wales and northwest England. It said a gust of 106 mph (170 kph) was recorded at Aberdaron in northwestern Wales. The Met Office said gusts could cause widespread structural damage and loss of power. Railway operator Network Rail said the main west coast train line would close for about two hours Wednesday evening because of the wind.

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The Star.com

World

Scientists link Britain’s extreme weather to climate change

“All the evidence suggests there is a link to climate change,” Britain’s weather service says as high winds batter the country’s west coast.

LONDON—Britain’s weather service says it sees the tentacles of climate change in a spate of storms and floods battering the country, but has stopped short of saying warming directly caused the extreme storms.

The latest round of bad weather hit Britain’s west coast Wednesday with winds gusting at more than 160 km/h.

The Met Office said in a paper published this week that “there is no definitive answer” on the role played by climate change in the recent weather and floods.

But it said there is “an increasing body of evidence that extreme daily rainfall rates are becoming more intense,” probably due to a warming world.

Met Office chief scientist Julia Slingo told the BBC that “all the evidence suggests there is a link to climate change.”

Read More Here

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As flooding batters Britain, politicians point fingers

With national election looming in 2015, the government appears to be playing defence: PM David Cameron says “money no object” in relief effort.

Nigel Farage, leader of the U.K. Independence Party, tours flooded properties and roads as he visits Chertsey on Feb. 11. The Environment Agency continues to issue severe flood warnings for a number of areas on the river Thames.

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Christopher Furlong / GETTY IMAGES

Nigel Farage, leader of the U.K. Independence Party, tours flooded properties and roads as he visits Chertsey on Feb. 11. The Environment Agency continues to issue severe flood warnings for a number of areas on the river Thames.

Jennifer Quinn News reporter, Published on Tue Feb 11 2014

Forget the weather, or climate change, or the wettest January in 2½ centuries. In Britain, politicians appear to be blaming terrible floods, devastating swaths of the English countryside, on each other.

And with a national election looming in 2015, the government appears to be playing defence: when it comes to the relief effort, Prime Minister David Cameron said Tuesday, “money is no object.”

The leader of Britain’s coalition government called a rare press conference to address the response to the floods, perhaps seeking to become the voice of reason in a national conversation dominated by duelling factions, such as the (Conservative) community minister accusing the (Labour) chair of the Environment Agency of ineptitude.

On the weekend, Eric Pickles, the minister for communities and local government — and a former chair of the Conservative Party — said that ministers “thought we were dealing with experts” when they took the advice of the Environment Agency, which leads on issues of flooding.

Agency chair Chris Smith — a former Labour cabinet minister who sits in the House of Lords as an independent — shot back, telling the BBC that his team knows “100 times more about flood management than any politician ever does.”

And into that fray stepped Cameron on Tuesday. He returned to Downing St. after a visit to the battered southwest coast of the U.K. to announce that £2.4 billion ($4.36 billion) would be spent on Britain’s flood defences and pledging whatever is necessary to help beleaguered residents recover.

“Whatever money is needed for it,” Cameron said, “it will be spent. We will take whatever steps necessary.”

Read More Here

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Storm With 106-mph Gusts Hits Flooded Britain

Storm With 106-mph Gusts Hits Flooded Britain

By Jill Lawless and Seth Borenstein

February 13, 2014 2:44PM Gusts of more than 100 miles per hour lashed western Britain’s coast, while severe flood warnings remained in place for much of the south and west of the country. Britain’s weather agency says “there is no definitive answer” on the role played by climate change in the recent weather and floods, but evidence suggests there is a link.

Britain’s weather service says it sees the tentacles of climate change in a spate of storms and floods battering the country, but has stopped short of saying that global warming directly caused the extreme conditions.The latest round of bad weather slammed into Britain’s west coast on Wednesday with torrential rain and winds gusting up to 106 mph (170 kph). Trucks were toppled, trees were felled and a major chunk of the railway was closed.

The Web site of rail operator Virgin Trains greeted visitors with the words: “Do Not Travel.”

England, which has been lashed by wind and rain since December, had its wettest January since records began in 1766.

The resulting floods have drenched the southwestern coast of England, the low-lying Somerset Levels and the Thames Valley west of London, where hundreds of properties have been swamped after the Thames burst its banks.

Britain’s Met Office, the nation’s weather agency, said in a paper published this week that “there is no definitive answer” on the role played by climate change in the recent weather and floods. But it said there is “an increasing body of evidence that extreme daily rainfall rates are becoming more intense,” probably due to a warming world.

Met Office chief scientist Julia Slingo told the BBC that “all the evidence suggests there is a link to climate change.”

Read More Here

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