County's second wettest year since records began

A view of Thame from the sky at the end of last month

Ian Ashpole, who has now taken over as the Radcliffe Met Observer

First published in News Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Didcot and Wallingford. Call me on 01865 425425

OXFORDSHIRE has experienced the second wettest year on record.

Met Office bosses confirmed the rainfall total for 2012 was 938.5mm, with 145.5 days of rain.

Only the 1960 figure of 982.4mm tops this year’s total, since records began in 1910.

The figures are despite a drier than average spring.

The city of Oxford itself was also deluged in the third wettest year since rainfall data was first collected by the university in 1767, with a total of 954.8mm.

This compares with a total of 1,034.7mm in 1852, and 962.8mm in 1960.

Met Office spokesman Dan Williams said: “It has been an exceptionally wet year in Oxfordshire.

“The first three months of the year were drier than average, with March getting half the average rainfall.

“It’s fair to say that even if there had been average rainfall for the first three months of 2012 it would have pushed the year into record territory.”

Mr Williams added: “In June this year the rainfall total of 140.6mm was a clear record, with the previous record being set in 1985 with 122mm.

“There has been an extended run of disappointing summers since 2007 but that doesn’t mean you will see the same weather in 2013.” It was also the second wettest year on record for the whole of the UK, with 1,330.7mm, slightly less than the record total of 1,337.3mm in 2000. It was the wettest year on record for England.

Thames Water confirmed it was unlikely to introduce a hosepipe ban in 2013 as the rain has saturated the ground and recharged natural underground basins.

Rainfall levels in 2012 were higher than in 2007 when thousands of residents faced floods.

The total amount of rainfall for the county for 2007 was 865.1mm, some way short of the 2012 total.

Staff at the Radcliffe Meteorological Station, at Green Templeton College in Woodstock Road, take rain measurements every day.

And their studies also showed it was the wettest April since rainfall data was first collected in 1767.

Data showed that 142mm fell in Oxford – three times more than usual.

The data was collected by Helen Pearce, a doctoral student at the University’s School of Geography and the Environment, who emptied a rain gauge into a measuring tube at exactly the same time each day of the year.

Postgraduate Ian Ashpole, 26, who is studying dust storms in the Saharan Desert, has now taken over from Miss Pearce as the Radcliffe Met Observer.

He said: “I think 2012 can be considered quite an extreme year for rainfall.”

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