Yesterday, Thursday, the Met Office published figures showing that the levels of precipitation in May, June and July have been the highest since records began in 1766.

The most extreme cases of rainfall recorded during the period were 103mm at Flyingdales, North Yorkshire in one day and 121mm at Pershore College in Worcestershire on July 20.

The average rainfall in England and Wales for the three month period from May to July is only 186mm.

The Met Office continued its cautious stance of refusing to attribute any particular extreme weather event to climate change but did goes as far as to say there is now an increasing body of evidence linking human activity to global rainfall patterns.

Joint research with the Met office and Environment Canada claims to scientifically show this link for the first time.

“This latest study can not make the link between climate change and what we have experienced so far this summer,” said Peter Stott, climate scientist at the Met Office Hadley Centre.

“However, with a warmer climate there could be an increase in extreme rainfall events despite the expected general trend toward drier summers.”

The previous benchmark for high waters was the Great Flood of 1947, which was aggravated by snow melt following an exceptionally harsh winter.

But even by Monday, the Environment Agency was claiming that devastating deluge had been surpassed in severity by this week’s flooding.

Anthony Perry, flood risk manager at the agency, said: “This is a real crisis. We could see families out of their homes for a very long time. Some people have no insurance and even those who do will struggle to return to normal life.”

“We have not seen flooding of this magnitude before. The benchmark was 1947 and this has already exceeded it.”

Sam Bond

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