Record Rainfall At Honister?
By Paul Homewood
There are a number of reports floating around that Storm Desmond has brought a 24-hour rainfall record, for instance;
The Government is expected to confirm a UK record in rainfall over 24 hours following the storm that submerged parts north of the country in floods this weekend.
Following an emergency Government meeting, Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said that figures from a rain gauge in Honister, Cumbria, suggest a record amount of rain fell in the 24 hours between Friday and Saturday evenings. It measured 341mm, which is more than a month’s worth of rainfall in just one day and more than the UK has ever experienced in such a short amount of time.
This is a very short post, as I am working on a more detailed summary of the Cumbrian floods, and will be out for most of the day.
But there is one issue that needs to be addressed now.
There should be absolutely no surprise at all that, if a record was to be set anywhere, it would be around Honister Pass. Located at about 1000 feet up in the middle of the Lake District peaks, this area is well known as by far the wettest in England, and arguably the UK. Seathwaite, which currently holds the two-day rainfall record, and has held many such records previously, is a mile away.
But the very real problem with this apparent new record is that daily records at Honister have only been kept since 1970, since when there have been 15 incomplete years.This is revealed in the paper Extreme rainfall in Cumbria, November 2009 – an assessment of storm rarity, by Lisa Stewart et al.
The paper also makes clear that rainfall would normally be higher at Honister than at Seathwaite, as it is at a higher altitude.
It is well accepted that meteorological records should only be officially declared where a station has a long enough record, which clearly is not the case here. No doubt, Liz Truss has her own reasons for wanting to declare a new record, because flood defences have failed at Cockermouth.
So far, the Met Office appear to have made no announcement.