Why do we keep having storms, flooding and extreme weather events in Wales?

Over the last 24 hours, Wales has seen heavy rainfall, thunderstorms and flooding due to unsettled weather conditions.

Weather warnings for rain and thunderstorms remain in force on Thursday across most of Wales, which could result in power cuts and further flooding and surface water issues on our roads.

Communities across the country have been devastated by flooding overnight, with homes and businesses hit with heavy rainfall.

Extreme weather events are becoming more and more frequent. Credit: PA Images

But why do we seem to be getting more storms and extreme weather events?

One factor in this is climate change: 2020 is on track to be one of the warmest years on record for the planet and it's having an impact on our weather.

The Met Office says climate change is the long-term shift in average weather patterns across the world.

It says humans have contributed to the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the air since the mid-1800s, causing global temperatures to rise, resulting in long-term changes to the climate.

The UK is about 1℃ warmer than it was 100 years ago. Changes to our climate results in issues such as rising ocean levels and extreme weather events becoming more and more frequent.

Storm Dennis caused flooding and substantial damage across Wales.

Wales has experienced several storms so far this year, with the impacts causing heavy rainfall, power cuts and flooding to many communities and areas across the country.

Storms that have affected Wales and the UK so far this year:

  • Storm Brendan: 13-14 January 2020;

  • Storm Ciara: 8-9 February 2020;

  • Storm Dennis: 15-17 February 2020.

Storm Dennis, in particular, caused substantial damage, affecting thousands of people and flooded hundreds of businesses.

Prince Charles visited Pontypridd - one of the worst-hit areas - to meet residents and businesses affected by the flooding.

A weather warning for rain has been issued by the Met Office. Credit: PA Images

Over the last few days, low pressure has been dominating our weather story across the UK, bringing unsettled weather conditions our way.

The humid air which we've been experiencing recently has also caused thunderstorms, which we don't tend to get many of in the UK.

The Met Office describes a thunderstorm as 'a series of sudden electrical discharges resulting from atmospheric conditions'. These electrical discharges result in thunder and lightning.

Thunderstorm warnings are in force across Wales today. Credit: Twitter: @@Salty_FSG

How to stay safe in thunderstorms and heavy rain:

  • Avoid using a landline phone, if possible, as telephone lines can conduct electricity;

  • If you're outside, avoid water and keep away from trees, poles or metal objects;

  • Stay indoors as much as possible;

  • Do not go outside to repair any damage whilst the bad weather is still ongoing;

  • Take extra care if you do need to drive anywhere.