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Weekend rain may make 2012 Devon and Cornwall's wettest year

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 29, 2012

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Experts say it will be "touch and go" if this year becomes the wettest on record in the Westcountry with stormy, wet weather expected to bring more flooding this weekend.

Some 1,524mm of rain have fallen across the South West since January 1, according to the Exeter-based Met Office, making 2012 the third wettest year since records began in 1910.

Less than 3 inches (68mm) of rain is needed to fall before December 31 to make this year the wettest on record for the region.

The UK had 50.8 inches (1,291mm) of rain from January 1 to December 26 and needs just 1.8 inches (46mm) before the end of December to break the national record.

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Met Office spokesman Charlie Powell said: "It'll be touch and go if we break the record. We expect it to go down to the wire. It's been an incredible year of extremes. After a very dry February and March, we had the wettest April on record at 174.6mm then one of the driest Mays."

The figures came as the Westcountry was warned yesterday to prepare itself for another barrage of heavy rain overnight from the Atlantic.

Heavy rain and strong winds are likely to cause more chaos across Devon and Cornwall where hundreds of homes were flooded only a week ago.

Another inch (25mm) of rain was expected to fall in just 12 hours from 2am today on already saturated ground.

The heaviest rain was predicted to fall on Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor with up to 40mm expected from the early hours until 2pm today.

Gale-force winds of up to 60mph were due to hit the region's coasts overnight while daytime temperatures remain mild at 12C.

Met Office spokesman Andy Yeatman said: "We are expecting rain overnight and into Saturday, then again on Sunday night and into Monday." But he promised a "welcome respite" after the New Year with drier and cooler conditions expected from Tuesday.

The Environment Agency had 14 flood warnings and 46 alerts in place across the South West yesterday with more expected overnight and into today.

Mr Yeatman said: "The picture is looking brighter than it was 24 hours ago. But we are not being complacent and are constantly monitoring the situation. Staff are currently working on a 24/7 rota.

"We would advise people to keep up-to-date with local media and check our website for the latest updates."

An amber landslide warning remained in place from the British Geological Survey for the South West, urging walkers to take care along coastal routes.

The Met Office figures also showed 207mm of rain has already fallen on the South West in December – far above the average of 144mm.

The latest deluge will come at the end of an unprecedented year of weather which saw a drought declared in the Westcountry in April before the relentless rain arrived. Just 45.7mm of rain fell in February and only 28.8mm in March across the whole region.

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