Severe storm in Northamptonshire today ‘should be last for the time being’

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The expected amount of rainfall in Northamptonshire for February will be exceeded with today’s storm, weather experts have predicted.

However, better news is that the “severe storm” should be the last for the time being.

Pitsford Hall Weather Station manger Mike Lewis said: “Following the wettest January on record, this month’s normal rainfall total is likely to be exceeded by the rain expected today and we have only reached the half-way point.

“The Valentine’s Day storm is likely to be the strongest for the time being, with the strongest winds expected across the county later this afternoon and into the evening as the rain moves away.”

Mr Lewis warned that further low pressure systems will move towards the British Isles next week.

But, apart from Monday’s system, the rest will pass to the north of the UK.

There will not be strong winds, but spells of rain will continue to prevent swollen rivers from receding quickly.

Summary of statistics recorded during the first 2 weeks of February:

Rainfall total (as of 9am today): 40.3mm (97.8% of the normal total)

Wettest day: February 6 with 21.1mm (more than half the total for the month)

Duration of rainfall: 31.0hrs

Highest wind speed: 62mph on February 8

Wind speed exceeded 50mph on three days

Meanwhile Brian Binley, MP for Northampton South, has urged the Government to learn the lessons from the town’s experience of flooding during Easter 1998, and combine improved flood defences with a cessation of house building on flood plains.

The Northampton South MP, who as a local councillor, was involved heavily in assisting local residents respond to that flooding crisis, raised the issue during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons.

Mr Binley told the Prime Minister of the 2,500 homes affected by the 1998 flooding, and the loss of two lives in the town.

On Maundy Thursday that year, one month’s rain fell on the town in a single day, and during the early hours of Good Friday, the river Nene burst its banks in Northampton.

Mr Binley commented: “As a local councillor at that time, I fought hard to ensure that we had better defences against flooding in the town, and early warning mechanisms – which have prevented further flooding incidents since.

“But we needed a broader response, not least to cease building houses in those areas vulnerable to flooding.

“I welcome the fact that the building of homes on flood plains is at its lowest level since 1989, but I urge the Government to do more to prevent further repetition of this misery in our communities.

“I welcome the Prime Minister’s answer to my question, and intend to write to him to press the Government to act strategically, once the emergency response to the crisis is concluded.”