UK experiences wettest February on record as Storm Jorge hits

The UK has weathered its wettest February on record after three successive storms brought heavy downpours and flooding.

A UK average of 202.1mm has fallen this month, surpassing February 1990 when 193.4mm fell, the Met Office said.

Some areas were deluged by more than a month's worth in just 24 hours, as heavy rain which started with Storm Ciara continued with Storm Dennis and now Storm Jorge contributed to record river levels which have seen safety teams put in "Herculean efforts" to erect flood defences to protect homes and businesses.

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A car in Pixham, Worcestershire is surrounded in flood water after the River Severn has burst its banks. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
A house in Pixham, Worcestershire is surrounded in flood water after the River Severn burst its banks. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
TEWKESBURY, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Tewkesbury Abbey, at the confluence of the Rivers Severn and Avon, is surrounded by flood waters on February 27, 2020 in Tewskesbury, England. Flooding levels are decreasing after storms Ciara and Dennis, however forecasters are predicting more rain and 70mph winds this weekend from storm Jorge. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
A swan looks over a fence from a flooded gardens in Upton upon Severn, Worcestershire, after the River Severn burst its banks. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
Houses in Jackfield near Ironbridge after flood water has started to recede. (Photo by Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images)
TEWKESBURY, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Tewkesbury Abbey and a children's playground at the confluence of the Rivers Severn and Avon, is surrounded by flood waters on February 27, 2020 in Tewskesbury, England. Flooding levels are decreasing after storms Ciara and Dennis, however forecasters are predicting more rain and 70mph winds this weekend from storm Jorge. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Flooding in Ironbridge, Shropshire, as residents in riverside properties in the area have been told to leave their homes and businesses immediately after temporary flood barriers were overwhelmed by water. (Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)
High volume water pumps installed to deal with the rising water in Bewdley, Worcestershire, sit submerged in flood water, after temporary flood defences were breached overnight as the River Severn remains high, with warnings of further flooding across the UK.
Flood water surrounds Worcester city centre , as residents in riverside properties in the area have been told to leave their homes and businesses immediately after temporary flood barriers were overwhelmed by water. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
WORCESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: A warning sign is surrounded by water as floodwaters persist in the centre of Worcester City after the River Severn burst its banks on February 27, 2020 in Worcester, England. Flooding levels are decreasing after storms Ciara and Dennis, however forecasters are predicting more rain and 70mph winds this weekend from storm Jorge. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
WORCESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: A car is surrounded by water as floodwaters persist in the centre of Worcester City after the River Severn burst its banks on February 27, 2020 in Worcester, England. Flooding levels are decreasing after storms Ciara and Dennis, however forecasters are predicting more rain and 70mph winds this weekend from storm Jorge. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
WORCESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Floodwaters persist in the centre of Worcester City after the River Severn burst its banks on February 27, 2020 in Worcester, England. Flooding levels are decreasing after storms Ciara and Dennis, however forecasters are predicting more rain and 70mph winds this weekend from storm Jorge. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
A flooded road near Upton-upon-Severn, Worcestershire, as the town suffers continued flooding. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
Properties back onto floodwater in Tewkesbury, as the town suffers continued flooding. (Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images)
Flooding in Ironbridge, Shropshire, as residents in riverside properties in the area have been told to leave their homes and businesses immediately after temporary flood barriers were overwhelmed by water. (Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)
Flooding in Ironbridge, Shropshire, as residents in riverside properties in the area have been told to leave their homes and businesses immediately after temporary flood barriers were overwhelmed by water. (Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)
Flood water surrounds Worcester city centre , as residents in riverside properties in the area have been told to leave their homes and businesses immediately after temporary flood barriers were overwhelmed by water. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
Flooding in Ironbridge, Shropshire, as residents in riverside properties in the area have been told to leave their homes and businesses immediately after temporary flood barriers were overwhelmed by water. (Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)
A car in flooded water Flood defences in Bewdley, Worcestershire, as the River Severn remains high, with warnings of further flooding across the UK.
Flood water surrounds Worcester city centre , as residents in riverside properties in the area have been told to leave their homes and businesses immediately after temporary flood barriers were overwhelmed by water. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
Properties back onto floodwater in Tewkesbury, as the town suffers continued flooding. PA Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 27, 2020. See PA story WEATHER Storm. Photo credit should read: Ben Birchall/PA Wire (Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images)
A car in flood water in Bewdley, Worcestershire, as the River Severn remains high, with warnings of further flooding across the UK.
Flood defences in Bewdley, Worcestershire, as the River Severn remains high, with warnings of further flooding across the UK.
Flood defences in Bewdley, Worcestershire, as the River Severn remains high, with warnings of further flooding across the UK.
A view of the temporary flood defences in Bewdley, Worcestershire, which were breached overnight, as the River Severn remains high, with warnings of further flooding across the UK.
Temporary flood barriers on the Wharfage in Ironbridge, Shropshire, as the River Severn remains high, with warnings of further flooding across the UK. See PA story WEATHER Storm. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Temporary flood barriers on the Wharfage in Ironbridge, Shropshire, as the River Severn remains high, with warnings of further flooding across the UK. See PA story WEATHER Storm. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire
The sun sets over a flooded field near Upton-upon-Severn, Worcestershire, as the town suffers continued flooding. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
TEWKESBURY, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Tewkesbury Abbey, at the confluence of the Rivers Severn and Avon, is surrounded by flood waters on February 27, 2020 in Tewskesbury, England. Flooding levels are decreasing after storms Ciara and Dennis, however forecasters are predicting more rain and 70mph winds this weekend from storm Jorge. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
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Jorge, this month's third named storm, is bringing rain, gales of up to 70mph and snow. It prompted weather warnings stretching from Cornwall to the north of Scotland and across to Northern Ireland.

The Environment Agency said 127,000 properties had been protected by flood defences this winter and some 15 rivers in the Midlands, Yorkshire and Lancashire have recorded their highest levels on record.

Several flooded roads were closed in Wiltshire, people were rescued from cars stranded in water in Devon and Somerset, and the Ouse Bridge in Humberside was closed to high-sided vehicles and the speed limit lowered to 40mph amid fears of strong winds.

Police in flood-hit South Wales declared a temporary "critical incident" on Saturday morning as emergency services, councils and other bodies worked to protect property and infrastructure and protect residents.

People in Pontypridd, which was also flooded two weeks ago, and the Ely area of Cardiff were advised to remain indoors amid warnings of further rising water levels and strong winds.

Cardiff Council said emergency teams worked through the night on flood defences, road closures and clearing debris to limit the damage from torrential rains as its roads team answered around 100 incidents.

There were six yellow weather warnings for rain, wind and snow in force across the country on Saturday morning, stretching from Cornwall to the north of Scotland and across to Northern Ireland.

WEATHER Storm
(PA Graphics)

The rain warning was lifted before midday as showers eased but alerts remained in place for gales and the potential for power cuts, transport delays and large waves for coastal communities.

The wind warnings last until 9am on Sunday across much of England and Wales and until 3pm the same day across Northern Ireland, southern Scotland, and northern England.

Persistent snowfall was forecast over higher parts of Scotland, with up to 30cm predicted in some places, with warnings in place until noon on Monday, the Met Office said.

A total of 83 flood warnings were in place across England and Wales, mostly in the South West and along the English-Welsh border, and in Yorkshire, while a further 211 "flooding is possible" alerts are also in force.

The wind-chill factor will make temperatures feel close to freezing, said the Met Office.

Towns including Ironbridge and Bewdley along the River Severn in the West Midlands, and West Cowick and Lidgate in East Yorkshire, along the River Aire, are among the worst-hit areas in England.

The Environment Agency said 1,000 staff per day have worked on flood defences and pumps, clearing debris and repairing damaged defences, erecting 3.7 miles of barriers.

The body warned the country needs to brace itself for "more frequent periods of extreme weather like this" because of climate change.

The leap year does not affect the wettest February record data, the Met Office said.

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