The other day I ran into someone I knew in the post office. As one does, I complained about the weather, specifically the endless rain we've been having. She pooh poohed my concern. "It's November; it always rains in November."
"But this seems worse than past Novembers," I said, shaking the rain off my jacket before I soaked the address label on the package I was mailing.
Again she scoffed. "This isn't the worst, and I've been here 26 years; I outvote you."
Well, I wasn't equipped to combat that, and besides, I just wanted to mail my package and get out of there. But I did start to wonder. Clearly the floods in northern England—Cockermouth had once-in-a-millenia flooding—meant that Cumbria was having record November rainfall. Further south, hardly a day has gone by since the month began that rain hasn't fallen at least part of the day. The ground is saturated, but that's happened before. Our garage flooded one day during a particularly violent downpour, but that's happened before too—in fact we deliberately keep things off the ground where possible.
I poked around the Met Office website, but the latest monthly totals were for October. Past records did indicate that November is typically the wettest month in the UK. But to my mind, this November had them all beat.
And yesterday, the Met Office confirmed my suspicions: This November was the wettest on record, breaking a record that had stood since 1929. For the whole UK, the previous record of 193.6 mm was smashed, with 217.4 mm of rainfall (8.6 inches, about the amount that Albuquerque, New Mexico sees in a year). The heaviest rain was isolated in places like Cumbria and Snowdonia. November was also warmer than average—the National Trust tweeted a photo of daffodils blooming at one of its Cornwall properties.
Violent weather, and fall daffs. Weather extremes—something predicted by climate change experts, and confirmed by our very eyes, or rather, our sodden clothes and garages. And for the people in Cockermouth, by the homes that have been underwater, the bridges washed away, and by the sad farewell to the policeman who lost his life trying to direct people away from a flooded bridge.
And to my acquaintance in the post office, I believe the Met Office outvotes you.