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East Lancs has officially had its wettest summer ever
IT’S official – this summer was the wettest on record.
Flash floods, persistent rain and strong winds battered East Lancashire causing rivers to burst their banks, bridges to be swept away, and roads to be closed.
The latest statistics have been compiled by Huncoat weatherman Roy Chetham, who measured 979.4 millimetres, or 38.56 inches, of rain over the summer months.
Among those feeling the effects were animals and plants, which had to fight more than usual this summer to survive.
Brockholes Nature Reserve, near Samlesbury, found that although the persistent rain was positive for some creatures, some ground-nesting bird chicks had perished as their nests were washed away.
Alan Wright, from the Wildlife Trust, said: “Geese and swans have thrived, but it has been mixed. We did lose some chicks, like skylarks, lapwings and curlew, and insect numbers have been down.
“But wildlife has coped much better than the humans have.”
Farmers have also had a very difficult summer, reporting failed crops which they believe will ultimately result in higher food prices and extra expense in feeding livestock.
Eric Dowson, who runs Hawkshaw Farm, in Clayton-le-Dale, said: “Things have not grown and have not been harvested as they should have been.
“Cows have not been out on the grass as long as they would have liked.
“A lot of farmers have not got enough winter feed together to feed their cows, which have been on a winter feeding regime all summer.”
Some roadworks, which are often carried out during the summer months when drier weather is more likely, have had to be put back because of the rain.
A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: “Some ongoing work has suffered some delay because they cannot do certain things when it is raining.
“You cannot paint road lines and you cannot resurface roads.
“But we have been working around that. It is something we always do, but some work has had to be delayed because of the weather.”
Sports pitches across the area were also flooded, including Accrington and East Lancashire Cricket clubs.
Kevin Wood, junior cricket section chairman and co-ordinator at Accrington Cricket Club, said: “The pitch did not drain away and it just looked like it was a lake.
“You could play water polo on it, but definitely not cricket.“Cricket is finished now, but there is junior football that takes place on the ground, so it will be affecting them.”
But Clitheroe-based travel counsellor Jayne Nuttall said the rain was helping give her business a boost, after seeing an influx of people looking to get some winter sun.
She said: “The people who have not had a holiday this year are definitely getting one booked for next year.
“My forward bookings are up and I have been so busy with people looking for winter sun.
“Sales for the Canary Islands and Egypt I am finding are up a lot, especially on all inclusive breaks.
“Everyone has just been fed up, they are just desperate to get away.”
And who can blame them when the forecast for the next few weeks looks just as unsettled?
A spokeswoman for the Met Office said: “It is going to be mixed, fairly typical, autumn weather.
“We have got some rain at the moment and today will be sunny spells with showers, mostly in the afternoon.
“It does look as though it carries on in the changeable vain we have had recently.
“Tomorrow looks like a pleasant day with some sunshine and on Friday, there could be some fairly steady rain.
“The weekend looks good with some sunny spells, but beyond that, we have got some more rain to push in.
“It is fairly classic October weather.”
The region was still on an amber alert for yet more heavy rain yesterday.
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