Rising cost of serious flood events

The floods which have hit Cumbria following record rainfall are the latest in a series of severe flooding events to hit the UK over the past half century.

The floods which have hit Cumbria following record rainfall are the latest in a series of severe flooding events to hit the UK over the past half century.

In August 1952, an 18-hour downpour over Exmoor led to the East and West Lyn rivers becoming dangerously swollen. A wall of flood water carrying debris including rocks and uprooted trees surged into the Devon village of Lynmouth, destroying homes, washing away cars and killing 34 people.

Overnight on January 31 1953, a massive storm surge led to the North Sea flooding over huge areas of the east coast of England. Over 180,000 acres of land were flooded, 24,000 houses were damaged and 307 people died in what has been described as the UK's worst peacetime disaster.

In the Netherlands, which was even worse hit, more than 1,800 people drowned.

In 2000, England and Wales experienced the wettest autumn since records began in 1766. Wave after wave of heavy rainfall sweeping across the country in October and November led to the flooding of 10,000 properties from Kent to Yorkshire.

Some 11,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes, motorways were closed and power supplies disrupted. The clean-up bill was put at £1 billion.

In August 2004, heavy rain caused two rivers to burst their banks, leading to flash flooding in the village of Boscastle, on the coast of north Cornwall.

Some 150 people had to be airlifted to safety by rescue helicopters and millions of pounds of damage was done to the picturesque village, which lies in a deep coomb where two valleys meet. Miraculously nobody was killed.

In January 2005, more than 1,000 houses and businesses in Carlisle in Cumbria were swamped by water when the city suffered its worst floods since the 1820s.

Thousands abandoned their homes and a power cut plunged Carlisle into darkness after the county was battered by heavy rain and winds gusting at up to 90mph. Three people died in the floods.

In June 2007, weeks of rain were topped off by a deluge that hit Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Wales and saw flooding in towns and cities including Sheffield, Doncaster and Hull.

Rivers burst their banks, surface water caused flash flooding and the Ulley Dam in south Yorkshire threatened to breach, with potentially devastating consequences.

In July 2007, more torrential rain swept across the country, causing further flooding, this time centred on the Midlands and the West Country. Thousands of people in the region were left without power or water as critical infrastructure was hit. Among the worst-hit towns were Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire and Upton upon Severn in Worcestershire.

The floods of summer 2007 were linked with 13 deaths, affected 48,461 homes, 6,896 businesses and around 850 schools and prompted a high-level review of how the country deals with flooding.

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