Flood Watch – February/March 2021

Flood Watch

2020 will go down in history not only for Covid but for the extremes of weather that set new records for wettest February, sunniest Spring, heat wave in late July/August. Excessive rainfall in October and December resulted in the annual rainfall total exceeding average levels by 20%. Especially noteworthy was the 35mm that fell on 23rd December resulting in flooding levels not seen since March 2016 when the E-W culvert caused flooding in the middle of the Village. River level rose by 2m resulting in extensive flooding along the Nene. Notable was the evacuation of the Billing Aquadrome caravan site down stream of Northampton. The good news was that the alterations to the E-W culvert outflow prevented a repeat of the devastating event of 2016.

As the year ended the UK was battered by storm Bella followed by a period of excessively cold weather when temperatures barely rose above freezing. This continued into the start of 2021, interrupted by brief periods when temperature rose to more typical winter levels of around 5 to 8 degrees.

As we move further into 2021 the next major storm Christoph (to be followed by Darcy) could cause more flooding whilst the immediate future appears to remain unsettled with longer term forecasts being even more uncertain. However the only certainty is that daylight hours will continue to increase by 3 hours with the end of winter and the spring equinox and the change from GMT to BST on 28th March. As a result lighter evenings will return.

The flooding on 24th December prompted some research into the archives for the River Nene locally dating back to 1945. As increased flow rates are a sure indication of flooding events a rate of 5 cum/sec resulted in 160 events while 10 cum/sec occurred 11 times. These correlated with my own records of flooding over 23 years with the events of March 2016 and December 24th 2020 corresponding to a 10 cum/sec event. Also apparent was the increase of 10 cum/sec events since 2000, a clear consequence of climate change!

A major event in 2001 year event, namely the Saturn/Jupiter alignment in Aquarius on 21st December was a non-event due to cloud cover.

The E/A has still failed to make any progress in securing funding for completion of flood defences in the Village. As a reminder of the continuing risks I have forwarded copies of photographs of the flooding on 24th December and reminded them of the potential impact of climate change to stress the need for action now!

J.Arnold

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