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Wettest winter since records began

SCOTLAND has experienced its wettest winter since records began more than a century ago, the Met Office has confirmed.

Coastal and estuarine areas of Scotland, including Gourock and Dumbarton, have been swamped by this winter's heavy rainfall.
Coastal and estuarine areas of Scotland, including Gourock and Dumbarton, have been swamped by this winter's heavy rainfall.

Between the start of December and Tuesday, the country saw 27.4 inches of rain recorded, far more than the previous record of 25.5 inches, set in 1995.

The heaviest rain came in the coastal Aberdeenshire area, where some parts experienced more than double the usual amounts of rainfall.

Across Scotland, 48% more rain fell compared to average winters between 1981 and 2010. It was the highest level recorded since UK national records started in 1910.

A spokesman for the Met Office said: "It's been a significant increase of rainfall in Scotland. The previous record hasn't just been pipped at the post. It maybe hasn't been smashed but it's certainly been convincingly beaten."

It was also an unusually dark winter north of the border, in contrast to southern England which had 12% more sunshine than average.

Scotland saw only 78% of its average sunshine hours overall, with the south-west particularly overcast with large swathes seeing less than 65% of normal levels of winter sun.

And the country has not seen the back of the wet weather, with more rain expected in coming days.

The Met Office said that showers were expected today in the west, although the east of Scotland is predicted to be drier.

In elevated areas, there is a chance of snow, with temperatures potentially dropping as low as minus two. Tomorrow, sunshine and showers are once again predicted, although a reprieve is expected on Sunday. Scottish Environment Protection Agency flood warnings were in place in four areas surrounding the River Tay, after levels rose as a result of rain on Wednesday night and yesterday morning.

The Met Office statistics revealed England, including large parts of Somerset which have seen unprecedented flooding, and Wales experienced the wettest winter since 1766, according to a separate index that does not include Scotland.

South-east and central southern England saw two and half times their usual rainfall. The wet winter weather has been blamed on a predominance of west and south-west winds, bringing in mild air from the Atlantic - as well as the unsettled and at times stormy conditions.

The factors have also contributed to above-average temperatures, with a UK average of 5.2C ­- a degree and a half above average for the period - meaning Britain is on course for its fifth warmest winter since national series records began in 1910.

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