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“Unprecedented” Rainfall In Lincolnshire?

June 17, 2019

By Paul Homewood


h/t Joe Public


One of the areas worst affected by recent heavy rainfall has been Wainfleet in Lincolnshire:



High volume pumps are being used to lower water levels in a flooded Lincolnshire town.

More than 580 homes in and around Wainfleet were evacuated amid concerns about flood defences.

Dozens of people spent the night away from their homes in emergency centres.

The town flooded on Wednesday after two months’ worth of rain fell in two days and the banks of the River Steeping broke its banks.

The Environment Agency described the situation as "unprecedented" after 132mm (5.2in) of rain fell between Monday and Wednesday, with the Met Office predicting a further 20mm (0.79in) of rain during Saturday night and Sunday.



Well, only if history began after 1960! In October that year, an almost incomprehensible 178mm of rain fell on Horncastle, a few miles south of Wainfleet, in just 3 hours.




And this was not simply a rogue event. The month as a whole was exceptionally wet across southern England and Wales. And the meteorological set up was the same as last week, with low pressure stuck to the south of the UK:






Let us hope that the poor folk of Wainfleet soon see the floods recede. But they might consider how much worse things would be without those fossil fuelled pumps and helicopters, which have been working to reduce water levels.

  1. Alan Shields permalink
    June 17, 2019 11:20 am

    would it be a good idea if forecasters showed weather (temp, rain, wind..) 1,5,10,25,50,1010 years ago on their web sites so people can get an instant perspective?

    • June 17, 2019 12:29 pm

      No… absolutely not…
      because then people would see that nothing is ‘Unprecedented’ & there’s no crisis or emergency.

      Just think how many jobs in the media would be lost,
      Rodger the dodger Horror-bin would be sweeping streets !

      • Lance permalink
        June 17, 2019 6:46 pm

        no…have to learn to code!

  2. June 17, 2019 11:24 am

    Reblogged this on Climate- Science.

  3. Tony Budd permalink
    June 17, 2019 11:44 am

    Very sad for the residents, but the clue to flood-susceptibility may be in the town’s name. While “Wain” just refers to a large open farm wagon as in “the haywain”, “fleet” is defined on (English Encyclopedia ) as “a flood; a creek or inlet; a bay or estuary; a river; obsolete, except as a place name, as in Fleet Street”. Just don’t tell the insurers.

  4. June 17, 2019 11:45 am

    In this context the term “Unprecedented “ must be considered FALSE news and both the BBC and the Met Officd called to task.
    In fact it is a term which removes responsibility from the authorities for the ongoing management of the flood defences.
    Hopefully this will concentrate their minds for the future.
    My sympathies go out to those affected.

    • June 17, 2019 12:59 pm

      The word “Unprecedented “ appears in quotes . So the BBC are just quoting what someone else has said. Whilst making no claim to its accuracy. I made a complaint to Ofcom about a fake headline in the Daily Mail it had a word in single quotes looking like it was used just to highlight the word. A single word quote inside what is a reported quoted statement looks more like highlighting to me. But not according to Ofcom.
      I also made a complaint to the BBC when they misquoted what was on record as being said.
      But they replied that the replaced words were what had been meant. Go figure.

    • Rudolf Hucker permalink
      June 17, 2019 5:16 pm

      Has Wainfleet suffered the same problem as the Somerset Levels, plenty of ‘expert’ clipboard carriers, but a total lack of drainage engineers! Here in the East Anglian Fens rivers and drains full of silt,I understand dredging is verboten by EU. Owen Patterson got the dredgers into Somerset,!!

      • June 17, 2019 6:06 pm

        Yes and I believe Owen got his marching orders. Suffering from too much common sense I understand.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        June 17, 2019 7:06 pm

        The EU Water Directive would be high on my post Brexit repeal list.

      • Adam Gallon permalink
        June 19, 2019 9:08 am

        Yes. A local river fisher rang into Radio 2, during Jeremy Vine’s show. he said that 10-12 years ago, the local river was 6 or more, feet deep. When he fished there a few years ago, it was more like 18″ deep.

  5. June 17, 2019 12:31 pm

    This spell of rainy summer weather has spawned a new breathless soundbite in the MSM: “They got a whole months rain in one day!” A whole months rain is of course the average, which tends to be very low in Eastern England in the summer, hence the frequent bans on hosepipes, and summer rains tends to be very sparse, a few days with a lot, most days with none.

  6. June 17, 2019 12:54 pm

    I’ve go news on the badger project BBCRadio tweeted about it 2 years ago
    My feeling is If it wasn’t the badgers directly I think it could be that EA time and money was diverted to the badger project and fighting the anti-cullers instead of being spent on other bank maintenance and status monitoring.
    Someone mentioned EA saying that grass had failed to grow back where the bank had been repaired

    • Gerry, England permalink
      June 17, 2019 1:58 pm

      £300,000+ for the badger sett they didn’t like so wouldn’t use. That would cover a lot of bullets. Comment from another local that he had seen no dredging of the Steeping in last 20 years. A man-made disaster but not for the reasons the BBC and friends will claim.

      • June 17, 2019 5:13 pm

        I heard that too on BBC Radio 2, Jeremy Vine this morning.

        Neglect dredging and you’ll need to bring in those super pumps.

        A repeat of the lesson learned on the Somerset Levels.

        Both lessons learned after folk are flooded out.

  7. June 17, 2019 12:56 pm

    The CliScep article gives good background
    some authorities of course were more worried about drought than floods

  8. Kelvin Vaughan permalink
    June 17, 2019 2:09 pm

    I think the Environment Agency meant that the river bank breaking in Wainfleet was unprecedented not the rainfall.

    • Tom O permalink
      June 20, 2019 4:11 pm

      Actually, it seems that anything is “unprecedented” if it didn’t happen in the past week. Remember, we live in the “now,” not in the past, and the past isn’t part of “the now.”

  9. Ken Pollock permalink
    June 17, 2019 2:21 pm

    Stewgreen, Many thanks for drawing our attention to the role of badgers in this disaster. Naturally, the national BBC news would never mention such an iconic species in a negative light. Maybe someone from Radio 2 should have a word and try and save their reputation…

  10. JimW permalink
    June 17, 2019 2:36 pm

    The Gaurdian today ran a piece with a deliberately ambiguous title ‘France declares natural emergency’. I think was designed to be read ‘national’ rather than ‘natural’.
    It was about heavy rains in the south east of France, including hail stones.
    To put some context on this , in May 2018 France declared 865 natural emergencies. It does this so that insurance companies pay out, its part of the game.

  11. Ian Miller permalink
    June 17, 2019 2:43 pm

    Ian Miller

    In answer to the ‘remoaners’ : –
    Yeah, Just have another vote with the ‘remain’ answer you want.

    Then don’t implement the result !

  12. LeedsChris permalink
    June 17, 2019 2:54 pm

    Not that I would recommend it but if you do browse through the volumes of British Rainfall, that give detailed accounts of rainfall from the 1860s to 1991 falls of ‘a month’s rain’ in one day are perfectly common each year somewhere. And Lincolnshire has had many heavy falls. Picking July 1880 at random Horncastle in Lincolnshire had 169mm of rain in the month, the bulk on a couple of days. On one day the gauge overflowed, which implies a fall of at least 4 inches (100mm) in one day.

    • Carbon500 permalink
      June 17, 2019 3:07 pm

      LeedsChris: I’ve found this link useful – (business as usual regarding rainfall, no horrors here climate-wise):
      When you refer to ‘volumes of British Rainfall’, you’ve clearly been looking at data from various locations. Can you supply more information about your source? Is it a computer database – eg local weather stations from the Met Office website, or actual books of figures?

      • LeedsChris permalink
        June 17, 2019 7:54 pm

        As Paul said. British Rainfall was a publication, originally a privately organised annual volume of data, published each year from 1860-1919, then taken over by the Met Office. The Met Office killed it off in 1991. It summarised rainfall data from up to 5-6,000 rain gauges across the country, published annual totals for them all; monthly totals for hundreds of others and provided extensive listing and maps of wet days and notable storms and of heavy rainfalls in short periods. All 130 years of volumes can be found on the Met Office web-site in their on-line library. What is striking from even a cursory reading of these records is that every single year at a number of locations across the country places would have a ‘month’s rain in one day’ on one particularly wet day of the year. Usually there were several stations that had 10, 11, 12 or more per cent rain on one day. And even in a ‘dry’ county like Lincolnshire you can find several records of more than 75-100mm in one day I would estimate about one year in ten or so.

      • Carbon500 permalink
        June 18, 2019 8:13 am

        LeedsChris and Paul: Thank you very much for this information about British rainfall records. I’ve had a quick look – terrific! As I always say, real world data trumps all the speculation, models, and doomsday predictions. I’ll keep a note of this link, and look forward to exploring the records further.

  13. Rupert Wyndham permalink
    June 17, 2019 2:56 pm


  14. roger permalink
    June 17, 2019 3:01 pm

    The river appears from google maps to have been straightened for much of it’s upstream length as have the tributaries.
    The changes seem to have been made to conform with the boundaries of the grossly enlarged fields.
    Combined with the lack of dredging, a known policy of the E A , it seems the cause of the flooding on this occasion is not hard to discover.
    I’d sue their arses off.

  15. June 17, 2019 3:14 pm

    The Steeping is not so much a river as a drainage canal, like so many there and in Norfolk. What really gets me is that the banks (dykes on old maps) of the river are 15 – 20 feet above the ground level, how the hell does that work, they are only a couple of miles from the coast, there must be one hell of a waterfall at the end!


  16. June 17, 2019 3:18 pm

    Meant to add, if you look here:
    you can see how much of the Wash has been “reclaimed” for fields. (you can see the dyke marked near Wainfleet too)


    PS Don’t get lost looking at this site, you can spend hours on it, sliding the blue dot back and forth, seeing what used to be where your house now stands, and looking at the different maps.

  17. tom0mason permalink
    June 17, 2019 3:37 pm

    It’s summer in the UK and it rained a bit, err … What’s new or news about that? Like it often rains on a British summer, and sometimes enough to cause some flooding.

    Must be a slow news day, or just the usual MSM attempt to maintain the rolling agenda about having people hyped-up about weather = climate.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      June 17, 2019 8:58 pm

      Hang on, Tomo, the PTB wanted – expected – June to be like last year and that they’d have a glorious heat-wave to use as more propaganda for their ‘climate emergency’. But now, they need to re-frame their meme and find a way of telling us that floods (which have been allowed to happen – I live with a river in my garden and know about flooding) are also caused by global warming.

      The take-away from this is that ‘global warming’ is man-made, though not in the way they want us to believe: the scare is what is man-made.

      • tom0mason permalink
        June 17, 2019 9:45 pm

        “… wanted – expected – June to be like last year and that they’d have a glorious heat-wave to use as more propaganda for their ‘climate emergency’.”
        Yep, they even believe their own propaganda forecast for a hot dry summer.
        I bet they haven’t twigged yet that 1 or 2 years after the solar minimum, usually the winters will be brutally cold. (I’ve a few wagers riding on that happening. 🙂 ) [The solar cycle effects take a while to fully show in the oceans and atmosphere heat loss. ]

  18. John F. Hultquist permalink
    June 17, 2019 5:50 pm

    Is Wainfleet All Saints the place I should be looking at?

    I always like to have a look. I see this:
    The River Lymn begins in the Lincolnshire Wolds on the eastern slope of Castcliffe Hill in Fulletby parish at TF310734. It flows south-eastwards to the Lincolnshire Marsh, where it becomes the Steeping River. [ ]

    I’ve just used Google Earth – Street View to have a look at Wainfleet.
    It seems folks have channeled the water into a couple of 20 m. wide drainage ditches in a very flat region. Then dams with narrow passages, with roads on top, have been added. Go to the Lat/Long . . .

    53.103217, 0.232323

    Do a street view and look west at the bridge/dam under Station Rd.

    To the north [1,500 m.], Spilsby Rd and Croft Ln, likewise cross the channel, and act to slow (dam) the flow.
    Nearby, the land is lower than the water level.

    What could go wrong?

    • Dave Ward permalink
      June 17, 2019 6:34 pm

      “Nearby, the land is lower than the water level”

      @John – Pretty much the entire Fens is like that. Draining first began in the 1600’s and now there are 286 pumping stations, plus numerous sluice gates, to keep the water levels in check:

      I remember a school trip to the area (nearly 50 years ago), where we were shown a large wooden post which (at the time) stood over 20ft above ground. Apparently, the entire post was buried, with just the top visible, when the main drainage work began – that’s how much the peaty soil has shrunk since! Many of the roads run alongside (and appreciably below) the numerous drains – they also have the distinction of being dreadfully uneven due to the ongoing sinkage.

      Have a look at GE & Street View outside the Wildfowl Trust at Welney: 52°31’39.54″N 0°16’44.63″E The footbridge is for visitors to cross the drainage channel to reach the hides the other side. It should give you a good idea of the area.

      • John F. Hultquist permalink
        June 17, 2019 8:15 pm

        Thanks Dave.
        Seems this is an issue several hundred years in the making.
        No easy solutions.

        (just brought this reply up from below)

    • tom0mason permalink
      June 17, 2019 10:08 pm

      Wainfleet (if the original name) seems to indicate that it is a crossing point on a stream.
      Wain (or wayne ) – wagon, Fleet – stream.
      So Wainfleet seems to be old English for place where the stream can be cross by wagon.

      Similar place names are listed here

  19. Athelstan. permalink
    June 17, 2019 7:59 pm

    I don’t know this area at all, from distance maintenance of river bed and banks, pumping stations etc – was not, is not kept up to. Indeed, and as has been noted above, this is very reminiscent of the Somerset levels farrago, and not to do with ‘unprecedented rainfall event’ just utter negligence, lax practice of river management and of course EU directives and ‘savin’ the creepy crawlies’ but not at all bothered for the very unfortunate people who happen to live in this river catchment ‘basin’.

    EA and all the green loons, protecting water life, becomes an EU influenced obsession and we know the rest – blame it on global warming.

    Children paper clip assessors in EA jobs, led by green fanatics and upside down ambition, river management, it could only end inevitably, ultimately in a very man made disaster.

  20. LeedsChris permalink
    June 17, 2019 8:11 pm

    More information from the British Rainfall records and from googling (don’t journalists do ANY checking these days when they write ‘unprecedented’ rainfall in Lincolnshire (sic). What about these wet days all in Lincolnshire —- 29th May 1920 – 119mm in 3 hours at Louth. 8th August 1931 – 155mm in 11 hours at Boston. 11 July 1932 – 126mm in 2 hours at Cranwell. 15 July 1937 – 139mm in 2 hours, again at Boston. 7th October 1960 – 178mm in 3 hours at Horncastle (Paul already mentioned this one). 22-23 September 1991 – 113mm at Sleaford. I found all of these without even making a thorough check – and look at the number of really heavy falls in the 1930s – what would they say about that? Don’t think there were many 4x4s in 1930s. Boston had two extreme falls in 7 years!

  21. John F. Hultquist permalink
    June 17, 2019 8:12 pm

    Thanks Dave.
    Seems this is an issue several hundred years in the making.
    No easy solutions.

  22. June 17, 2019 9:25 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    “Unprecedented” is becoming a euphemism for history.

  23. Dave Ward permalink
    June 17, 2019 10:28 pm

    Further to my comment above, I recall many complaints directed at the EA from canal boat owners regarding lack of maintenance and dredging. One regular gripe is the short section between Salters Lode & Denver Sluice (the latter being just yards from EA’s depot and offices. I found a blog which shows how bad the silt build up was in 2013 – look at pictures 2,3,4 & 5 here:

    Boat owners have to pay for a licence to use these waterways, and yet the EA can’t be bothered to clear the approaches to well used locks. It’s little wonder they don’t deal with other matters…

  24. MrGrimNasty permalink
    June 17, 2019 11:46 pm

    An interesting coincidence, assuming the forecast for the next 2 weeks doesn’t change drastically.

    June 2019 is running very cool in the CET (but not a record) after June 2018 which was at the other end of the scale. The same thing happened with the Junes of 1977 and 1976.

    Another example of both extremes in consecutive years, and nature carries on regardless.

    Yet we are supposed to believe a comparatively tiny warming over a century is a disaster!

    • LeedsChris permalink
      June 18, 2019 12:07 am

      Our weather does often have a pattern of one extreme one year and the opposite the next. Summer 1911 hot, summer 1912 dull and wet. Summer 1921 drought followed by summer 1922 wet. Summer 1955 dry and sunny, Summer 1956 dull and wet. Summer 1959 sunny and warm, summer 1960 wet.

  25. Graeme No.3 permalink
    June 18, 2019 12:10 am

    The next step will be Hurricanes in Hereford. Easy to get headlines if the media never check the Press Release.

  26. calnorth permalink
    June 18, 2019 9:12 am

    I’ve lived in Lincs over a few years…2 years with the RAF. Have fallen into almost empty dykes in the night. Its a fair way down and an RAF uniform seriously sucks up any water. Lucky I was wet inside? I had a house near Spalding with a small shallow dyke (drain really) at the rear…a bother to me really with local fools throwing mattresses and junk in it.

    I’m about 200 foot up in Worcestershire now…and often thankful. Although Worcester race course gets it often (River 7) and occasionally the wider surrounding undulating land dumps water into the deeply undulating roads. History tells us about living too close to rivers and at low levels….Gloucestershire!

    I’ve lived on the Somerset Levels again in RAF (60’s). I used to float my VW Beetle across some short dips in the roads…wet feet! No mass area flooding though as recent history.

    Witness the heavy rainfall often when driving the A303 around Andover…some operations with the Army that time. The Atlantic wack!

    7 years in the low countries of Europe (again RAF)…never witnessed such flooding. Canals everywhere of course.

    • Nordisch-geo-climber permalink
      June 18, 2019 10:27 am

      Speaking as a geologist and looking at the big picture, we might assume in future times, the whole area will go under water again as tragically happened in 1953.

      • calnorth permalink
        June 18, 2019 11:44 am

        Risk Analysis…Low Probability (per 50 yrs?) with High, Med or Low Impact.

        Impact – Dependency is on the current fool(s) who administer the land and ease of water flow through.

  27. Nigel Corrigan permalink
    June 18, 2019 2:27 pm

    Hello, have you seen this?

  28. donald penman permalink
    June 20, 2019 9:39 am

    Wainfleet is south of Skegness and Horncasle is halfway between Lincoln and skegness. I used to drive around Lincolnshire a lot and the river Witham is a small stream when it passes through Grantham but it is a very substantial river by the time it reaches Tatershall and all the other rivers and drains join before reaching Boston. The Witham becomes tidal at Lincoln and we had some flooding also at high tide.

    • David Chappell permalink
      June 24, 2019 9:46 pm

      In Roman times the river was tidal to Lincoln but that changed in 1766 when the Grand Sluice was built near Boston, which is now the tidal limit.

  29. Arthur Clapham. permalink
    June 23, 2019 6:28 pm

    Well done Leeds Chris, I have lived in the Fens all my life,men who had worked on farms for a lifetime outdoors knew all about weather far more than today’s “experts ” if you had a prolonged drought for a few weeks and mentioned the lack of rain, you were told not to worry boy ‘it always catches up and you might get a lot more than you want’. In those days people called it weather not Climate.May God please preserve us from Experts.

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