Does the climate crisis mean that severe storms are here to stay?
- Credit: Chris Wilson
Storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin have ravaged parts of southern England over the weekend.
The strong winds on Friday, February 18 claimed the lives of three people - in London, Hampshire and Merseyside.
A record-breaking 122mph gust of wind was recorded on the Isle of Wight, with wind speeds reaching 76mph in East Anglia.
Storm Gladys is hot on Eunice and Franklin's heels and could bring strong winds to the region on Thursday.
Could climate change be behind these more frequent severe, sometimes deadly weather events?
"Climate change can both increase an decrease the severity of storms," Dr Rosie Robinson from the Global Sustainability Institute in Cambridge explained.
"We know that rising sea temperatures can increase the intensity of tropical storms.
"Although we don't know whether climate change will increase the number of storms, it is strongly linked to the overall increases in other events globally like flooding, drought and wildfires."
In 2021, the region experienced "chaotic" and unusual weather events.
In Thaxted, 19 miles from Cambridge, golf ball-sized hailstones battered homes and farmland in July 2021.
In Hertfordshire, Primal Scream and Sophie Ellis-Bextor were forced to abandon their headline sets at Standon Calling festival, which was called off due to flash flooding after days of hot sunshine.
- 1 RideLondon 5 year plan: 900 object to district road closures
- 2 Iceland offers over 60s discount on shopping bill every week
- 3 New Mayors and deputies in Saffron Walden and Great Dunmow
- 4 Great Dunmow and High Easter take centre stage as Women's Tour of Britain hits town
- 5 A giant snail, sporting success and other school news
- 6 Met Office weather: Yellow storm and flood warning for East of England
- 7 Home county tenant exodus drives up London rents
- 8 Beer from Lidl and vegan chocolates among items recalled over safety fears
- 9 New speed check groups to start: Rayne duo share experiences
- 10 110 homes near Stansted Airport: design and details approved
The Met Office said that winter storms which the UK experienced in the mid-2010s were made 40 per cent more likely because of climate change.
Farmers in the East of England are negatively impacted by storms, which can cause crops to fail.
Brian Finnerty, of the National Farmers Union, said: "Our farmers are on the front line of climate change, with parts of Cambridgeshire and Essex particularly vulnerable to both river and coastal flooding.
"The East of England is also the driest region in the UK."
Brian said that two thirds of NFU members say they have noticed an increase in extreme weather, and the union has set a "net-zero" goal to reduce the industry's carbon emissions by 2040.
"Farmers want to be part of the solution, not the problem," he said.
It's not all bad news, though.
Organisations such as the World Wildlife Fund say that there is an appetite in government and on-the-ground to respond to climate issues.
What is the weather forecast this week?
The Met Office forecasts an end to strong winds and rain today (Monday, February 21).
Bands of rain will move from the north towards south-east England on Tuesday.
By Friday, the weather should be fine with some sunshine and light winds.