Thursday, 17 November 2016

Britain's wettest 5 minutes and the world's wettest minute



On Thursday, 10 August 1893, about an inch and a quarter of rain fell on Preston in Lancashire in five minutes. This remains a record for the UK. It was the result of what that day’s Lancashire Daily Post described as a ‘terrific thunderstorm’.

The rain was so heavy you could not see across the main street, parts of the town was flooded to a depth of two feet, and a horse was reportedly drowned, while there were also said to be hailstones ‘as big as pigeon’s eggs’.

Surreally in the midst of this water, water everywhere, a wholesale greengrocer’s was set on fire when it was struck by lightning. Lancashire also holds other British rainfall records. The most to fall in 15 minutes was 2.2 inches at Bolton Hall in July 1964, and the most in 90 minutes was 4.6 inches at Dunsop Valley in August 1967.

As far as world records go, an inch and a half of rain came down in just one minute on Guadeloupe in 1970, while the island of Reunion (pictured) was subjected to an astonishing 71 and ¾ inches in 24 hours in 1966.

For the full story of Lancashire’s stormy history, see my Lancashire Evening Post story - http://www.lep.co.uk/news/environment/when-a-record-breaking-storm-hit-town-1-8237809
For more on record rainfalls worldwide, see Storm: Nature and Culture (Reaktion).

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