Wild Weather In 1960!

By Paul Homewood



The BBC thinks this year has been notable for “wild weather” in Britain. Perhaps somebody should tell them about 1960!


After a wet winter, the wettest in England & Wales since 1915/16, the end of spring and beginning of summer was hot. May was the warmest in Scotland since 1936, and across the UK, it was the hottest June since 1940.



However, the weather quickly went downhill. July, August and September were all unusually wet. So it was no surprise when record rainfall in October brought extensive floods to southern England:






The floods in Devon were particularly notorious:



October 27, 1960 remains one of the most disastrous days in Exeter’s history.

The St Thomas floods are often talked about to this day, which saw thousands of properties affected on two separate occasions.

So much rain fell in Exeter during October, 1960, that the River Exe broke its banks and the city suffered the worst flooding in its history.

More than 380mm of rain, half the annual average, fell in the River Exe catchment area that month, and 60mm fell on October 26 alone.

The next day water cascaded over the banks of the swollen Exe above Exwick and poured through St Thomas and towards Alphington.

Mud, silt, boulders and trees swept through the streets and thousands of residents were trapped as their homes were flooded by two metres of water. Around 1,000 properties were damaged.

October 27 became known as Black Thursday, and just as Exeter was recovering from the damage and shock, floods struck again on December 3 when another 80mm of rain fell in one day.

This time, more than 1,200 properties were affected by the floods.

It was the biggest flooding in the Westcountry during the 20th century and the third wettest since records began in 1727.

In total, 2,500 houses, factories, churches and pubs were inundated.






Heavy rainfall continued into November, bringing extensive flooding to much of the country, and even a powerful tornado which caused considerable damage in Cheshire. Gales reached 80mph in a number of places.

Notably it was the wettest July to November period on record in England & Wales, a record which still holds.






In November it was the south east’s turn to bear the brunt of the floods, described as the worst there for 50 years:





As noted in the Devon Live report, severe floods returned to Exeter in December, along with many other parts of S Wales and southern England:





The Met Office report in October mentions Horncastle in Lincolnshire. This still holds the record for the highest 180 minute rainfall total:




1960 ended up as the wettest year in England & Wales in the whole of the 20th century. It was a year, many people were delighted to see the back of.



We have now looked at 1940, 1950 and 1960. Each year had its share of “wild weather”, every bit as great as this year, and probably more so. And these are random picks.

It is abundantly clear that there is no factual basis to the BBC/Met Office’s absurd claim that 2020 proves wild weather is increasing.

I will, by the way, be filing an official complaint against the BBC over this piece of dishonest reporting.



December 14, 2020 at 12:36PM

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