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Wettest year on record saw drought, tornado and giant hail in Leicestershire


The past 12 months have seen some of the most turbulent weather Leicestershire has experienced.

Hailstones the size of cricket balls, tornados and floods have all ravaged the county in a year that started with drought.

The year ended with one of the wettest festive periods on record, with 4.5in of rain during December. The average is about 2in.

Leicester Mercury weatherman Dave Mutton said: "There's no denying it's been a wet Christmas.

"I've been back through Leicestershire's records and it's the wettest year we've had.

"Although having said that, February and March were extremely dry, but after that someone turned the tap on."

More than 40in of rain has fallen this year. In 1872, the next wettest year, 38in fell.

"We'd usually expect about 27 inches to fall, but that's all changing now," Dave said.

The extreme weather is caused by the jet stream, which usually causes depressions from the Atlantic to move above or below the UK, but which has started to move right over us, he said.

"No one knows why it happens, but it has given us a lot more extremes," he said.

In June, people in the west of the county looked on in amazement as huge hailstones damaged homes and cars.

The freak conditions also saw half of the month's rain for the county fall in one hour.

Dave said: "I'll always remember that day – June 28 was tornado day.

"We had hailstones the size of cricket balls which caused no end of damage to the west of Leicestershire. The east managed to escape.

"It ruined crops and cars and we also had about 6in of rain on that day too. In June."

The tornado blew from Hinckley to Coalville and tore through gardens and pulled tiles and guttering from homes.

The hailstones "were huge," said Dave. "You've got bear in mind they start as raindrops about 40,000 ft above us.

"They freeze and gather ice as they bounce up and down in the disturbance.

"It's only when they get too heavy that they fall, gathering a little more ice before they come crashing down."

However, Dave did have some good news. He said: "After today, it's going to be dry for a few days, which is something.

"I can't say what the long-term forecast will be just yet, though."

Wettest year on record saw drought, tornado and giant hail in Leicestershire

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