England and Wales on course for wettest January since 1766

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A sign on the bridge over the River Parrett in Burrowbridge as flooding on the levels in Somerset continues. Photo: PA

It could well be the wettest January on Met Office record - previously set in 1948 when 176.8mm fell across England and Wales.

Around 163mm of rain had fallen by last night and with another active system bringing more substantial rain on Friday and into Friday night, that record could well be exceeded.

This would make it the wettest January since Met Office records began in 1910 - and since historic weather records started way back in 1766!

Flood defenses on the River Parrett in Burrowbridge, Somerset, as flooding persists on the levels. Credit: PA

A week into the new year, some places had already received more than an entire month's average rainfall in just a matter of days.

Read: Amphibious vehicles for flood-hit Somerset

Parts of southern England have already seen double the average rainfall amounts for the whole month.

There has been a stark north to south contrast too - with far more rainfall than average collected in the south of England compared to the north of Scotland.

Previous wet Januarys include 1988 (169mm) and 1995 (162.6mm).

This month has also been unseasonably mild - mild air can hold more moisture.

Watch: Flood intervention 'crucial' for Somerset