Monday, 18 August 2008

Ulster flooding four years on from Boscastle

I don't know what it is about August the sixteenth - I've already noted the wetness of that day here but this was absolutely nothing compared with the deluge they had in Northern Ireland. It seems that pretty well all of the province was affected with flooding the worst experienced for many a long year. Apart from numerous properties being flooded there were dramatic pictures on TV of an underpass (recently opened I think) which unbelievably was full to the brim with water. Looking at the weather maps it appears that all this precipitation came from the same system that made Saturday so unpleasant in the Tamar Valley. But here is the uncanny bit: this rainstorm happened four years after the Boscastle disaster - to the day! In truth though these were two very different weather events, the Boscastle/Crackington Haven flood in 2004 was due to a very very localised area of intense rain of some duration which never moved from that part of Cornwall. In fact ten or so miles away one might have wondered what the fuss was about! The topography and river systems of the area made the resultant damage much worse. In Ulster the rainfall was spread over a far wider area but nevertheless has caused some really severe problems.

There are those climate change deniers who will gleefully point out that there have always been extreme weather events and, yes, they are right. But what is happening now is that such occurrences aren't once or twice in a lifetime events, they are far more frequent than that. Climate change is happening, there is no doubt about that surely. The problem is that we just don't know for certain if this is partly or totally due to man's activities on this planet or whether it is just part of a natural cycle. Not knowing the answer for sure is a dilemma for mankind.

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