Flooding in the Cotswolds (again!)

We had a trip to the Cotswolds booked for last July/August, but we had to cancel a few days before because of the flooding. They had a wetter than usual summer and then had a very heavy rainfall on Friday July 20 which caused severe flooding in Tewkesbury, Gloucester and riverside places in the Cotswolds. The water purification plant in Gloucester was flooded and much of Gloucestershire was without water for two to three weeks. The cottage we had booked had its water turned off, so we stayed in Switzerland.

The Guardian, Monday July 23 2007, County by county: the areas worst hit by flooding – “Twelve centimetres fell in the county (Oxfordshire) on Friday (July 20) – the largest daily rainfall since records began for the area in 1968.” Twelve centimetres is about five inches, that is a lot of rain.

We decided to spend this winter in the Cotswolds, knowing we would hit bad weather. I figured it is better to go at a time when you know it will be bad so you can be pleasantly surprised if you get any good weather, than to go at a time when it should be good and then have it be bad. It made sense at the time.

Our previous trip was in May 2006. England is usually great in May – wildflowers, long days, sunshine. That trip started with a “mini-scorcher” and ended with 2 1/2 weeks of rain. They said it was the wettest May since the 1970s. By the end of that trip I was getting tired of hiking in mud and I felt a bit ripped off – it was May!

Back to this trip. We have been here for two weeks and I thought the weather was quite good. It is mild on most days and it has been raining, but there are many dry spells and even some sunny dry days. I like the days of rain because it gives me an excuse to work on the Cotswolder site (notice my new navigation buttons!).

Then, a couple of days ago, I read in the paper and heard on the news that January is getting record setting amounts of rain and some nearby areas are being flooded. Tewkesbury is flooded, Gloucester is flooded, some small town near Malmesbury is flooded. We walked along the Nailsworth River in our valley and it was high.

The Guardian, Thursday January 17 2008, Homes flooded in England and Wales as rivers rise.

On the news yesterday they said that we got an inch of rain overnight and that produced the flooding. It is not as bad as in July because it is not as much rain. In this area only the River Severn is flooding, not both the Severn and the Avon as happened July.

An inch of rain in the night. That is nothing. We get that in an hour in the Santa Fe summer monsoons. I am starting to think the Brits are weather-wimps. It is winter, it rains, dig a ditch and cowboy-up! If you are from perfect-weather California, you might think the weather is bad here. But compared to Vancouver or Seattle (we have lived in both places), it is pretty much “weather as usual”. Compared to Santa Fe, the skies may be grey but it is about 20 degrees warmer! I definately packed too much long underwear.

I will go and check weather stats to compare the amount of rain per year in the southwest of England with the southwest of Canada. I bet Vancouver gets more.

According to the BBC Weather rain is in the forcast for the next two days. We will see.

If I was going to complain about anything, and I am not, it would be how dark it is in the morning. I am not an early riser. The other morning I woke up and thought it was the middle of the night. I woke Steve up and said “why can’t I sleep?” He looked at the clock and said “because it is 8:00am.”

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Pauline Kenny

Pauline Kenny and Steve Cohen are US expats living in Dorset. We moved to the UK in 2010. Read about our move. If you would like to talk about travel, please join us on the Slow Europe Travel Forums.

4 thoughts on “Flooding in the Cotswolds (again!)”

  1. Send some of the dark here, please! I can’t remember sleeping til 8 am. but then maybe because there is a 9 year old here. Can I ship him to you for a while? He needs to experience England. Are you having a great time so far?

  2. We are having a great time. Very relaxed, doing some reading, going for a long walk most days, exploring the local area. I am teaching myself how to knit mittens!

    Cotswolder is a new website for me, but still has a ton of work to be done. The format is set up but now I have to get all my information organized. Similar to how I started SlowTrav but a much smaller topic. It is fun to be starting a whole new project.

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