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Storms Ciara and Dennis contribute to east’s windiest month in 30 years

PUBLISHED: 10:06 06 March 2020 | UPDATED: 10:41 06 March 2020

The east of England saw more wind in February 2020 than in any calendar month in the last 30 years, stretching back to February 1990. Picture: Weatherquest

The east of England saw more wind in February 2020 than in any calendar month in the last 30 years, stretching back to February 1990. Picture: Weatherquest

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Storms Ciara and Dennis, combined with fast-moving jet stream gusts, saw the east of England experience its windiest month in three decades in February – and its wettest in 10 years.

Dan Holley, from Norwich based forecaster Weatherquest.  Picture: Dan HolleyDan Holley, from Norwich based forecaster Weatherquest. Picture: Dan Holley

The entirety of Norfolk and Suffolk, along with the majority of Essex, saw stronger and more frequent winds than in any calendar month since February 1990, according to Dan Holley, a meteorologist at Norwich-based Weatherquest.

The region also saw more rainfall last month than in any February since 2010, with levels recorded at 192pc above average.

Normally, an average of 39.7mm of rain is expected in any given February, but this year saw almost double that - 76.1mm - fall in the east.

The national picture looks the same - rainfall levels across the country were much higher than usual, culminating in more rain being recorded in the UK than in any previous year.

Storm Ciara brought strong winds to the east, which felled hundreds of trees across the region. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANStorm Ciara brought strong winds to the east, which felled hundreds of trees across the region. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Mr Holley said that very strong jet stream winds - which were approaching 260mph - were behind a succession of storms that hit the country, which brought the persistent winds and wet weather.

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He said: "We saw a very active jet stream with several cold air outbreaks over the US, which created areas of low pressure over the UK."

Storms Ciara and Dennis brought sustained gusts exceeding 60mph to the county in the first half of the month, along with frequent showers and, in some cases, heavy rain.

Storm Jorge followed, which battered most of the country but the east escaped much of the worst weather that time.

Despite the turbulent weather, February was a notably mild month across the country - it was the fifth warmest ever, according to records stretching back to the 1880s.

The story was the same during the whole winter, with December 2019 to February 2020 going down as the fourth warmest on record.

The Met Office said that the large natural variation of rainfall patterns "makes it more difficult to unambiguously identify long-term trends linked to climate change", but did say that wetter winters are expected in the future with continued climate change.

Heading into March, more wet and windy weather is expected but more settled conditions should begin to set in towards the middle of the month.

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