Members of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton in action in the York floods. Photo: Dartmoor SRA

Members of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton in action in the York floods. Photo: Dartmoor SRA

It will come as little surprise to most outdoor enthusiasts to learn that December 2015 was the wettest month on record.

Provisional figures released by the Met Office confirm it had the highest rainfall of any month since records began 105 years ago.

December 2015 was also the warmest on record with a mean temperature of 7.9C, which is 3.8C above average for the month. The previous record was 6.9C in 1934.

Unprecedented rainfall brought floods to Cumbria, Wales, Lancashire, Yorkshire, the Scottish Borders and the North-East, and the exceptional rain is continuing into the New Year with floods in Scotland and north-east England.

The Met Office said: “The temperatures for December 2015 were closer to those normally experienced during April or May.

“Along with the remarkable warmth, there has been a virtual complete lack of air frost across much of England, with the UK as a whole seeing less than three days of air frost on average for December which is eight days below the long-term average, although some places particularly in Scotland and over uplands have had some frosts.”

Overall, 2015 was the sixth wettest on record.

Not all of the UK has been exceptionally wet. The Met Office said there was a marked contrast in rainfall across the country.

“It has been the wettest December on record for Scotland, with 351 mm, and for Wales – 359 mm – and the second wettest for Northern Ireland with 221 mm, just behind 1919 which recorded 224 mm.

“North-west England has also seen record breaking December rainfall, while for central and southern England it has been average.”

The Government-owned agency said the overall UK figure is influenced largely by the fact that Scotland, Wales and north-west England had an unusually wet year – 2015 ended up being the second-wettest year since 1910 for Scotland, with only 2011 having been wetter.

Mountain rescue teams across the UK have been involved in operations to evacuate residents and businesses in flood-hit areas, with some volunteer teams making round journeys of more than 600 miles to help.

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