UK & World News
Floods: 2012 One Of The Wettest Years Ever
The year just past looks set to be one of the wettest on record, and draws to an end with more than 100 flood warnings in place.
Homeowners in the South West - already mopping up after recent flooding - were warned by the Met Office to expect heavy rain on Thursday, with similar conditions in Wales and the North West on Friday and Saturday.
On Thursday morning, the Environment Agency had 103 flood warnings and a further 217 alerts in place.
It is a very different picture to the start of the year, which began with the most severe drought since the summer of 1976 - a legacy of the previous two - and in some places, three - dry winters.
Some reservoirs were less than half-full and ground water levels were unusually low.
However, Isobel Lang, Sky News weather forecaster, said: "Conditions changed rather unbelievably through April, with a switch to significantly wetter weather as the jet stream was positioned further south than usual, driving in a succession of Atlantic fronts and depressions."
The soggy summer that followed was the wettest for a century, and although ground water and river levels recovered, the Environment Agency and the Met Office raised concerns that flooding was increasingly likely during the autumn.
With very little precipitation needed to tip the balance, late September and November saw significant flooding. More followed in the run up to Christmas as mild, southwesterly winds from the Atlantic brought both warmth and torrential downpours.
The wettest year on record is 2000 when more than 1,300mm of rain fell.
In 2012, rainfall has already exceeded the 1981-2010 annual average of around 1,150mm, and is far greater than the 950mm seen in 2010.
With the wet weather set to continue, National Rail warned train passengers to expect further disruption after delays before Christmas, while First Great Western warned people not to travel because of line problems in Devon and Cornwall.
Late-running engineering work added to the misery, with no trains between London Paddington, Heathrow Airport and Reading, delays at Birmingham New Street and hold-ups between East Midlands Parkway, Leicester and Peterborough.
In other developments, the British Geological Survey put an amber landslide warning in place for the South West, urging walkers to take extra care along coastal routes.
Meanwhile, a monkey sanctuary in Looe, Cornwall, appealed for help after its premises were devastated by the wet and windy weather.
A large tree was brought down, while experts believe the death of a 10-month-old capuchin at the centre from tetanus may be linked to the floods.
"We're hoping (next year) doesn't get any worse," said Claire Turnbull, education officer at Looe Monkey Sanctuary.