Great Martinstown Downpour
July 1955 was generally a sunny month, but out of the blue as it were conditions changed in Dorset, such that from early afternoon on the 18th to 5am the next day what stood for half a century as the greatest recorded downpour in Britain occurred. A storm moving across the Channel from France (as ever) was held in place by conditions around it, so the downpour was very localised.
The place most hit was Martinstown, on which 279mm of rain fell in that 15-hour period. Happily no casualties were caused by the storm, but it was so great that it was possible to swim along the main street, and the only vehicles that could be used were lorries and tractors.
In 2009 Seathwaite in Cumbria was unlucky enough to take Martinstown’s record – with an incredible 314mm of rain in 24 hours.
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