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Forecasters have said 2012 is set to become the wettest on record in the UK after predicting a wet and windy end to the year as flood-battered areas were warned they face renewed danger from storms.

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According to the Met Office just 1.8in (46mm) of rain is needed to fall before December 31 to make this year the wettest on record for the UK overall, with a new record already set for England with 43.1in (1,095.8mm) falling between January 1 and Boxing Day.

The UK as a whole had 50.8in (1,291.2mm) of rain from January 1 to December 26, with the wettest year on record for the UK currently 2000, when 52.6in (1,337.3mm) fell.

The figures came as people living in parts of Britain already hit by floods were told to expect more misery as another barrage of heavy rain comes in from the west.

The Thames Barrier was raised yesterday morning to keep the high tide out of London and reduce the risk of flooding as water from days of downpours causes high levels further upstream.

MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said the entire country was set to be drenched by persistent rain sweeping in from the Atlantic coupled with winds of up to 85mph in the far north of Scotland.

The Met Office said new regional rainfall records have been set in several areas of England, including northern England (49.3in, 1,253mm), east and north east England (41in, 1,042.1mm), the Midlands (41.3in, 1,048.2mm), and East Anglia (31in, 788mm).

The Environment Agency currently has 82 flood warnings and 182 flood alerts in place across the country, with the Midlands, the south east and south west worst affected.

Matt Dobson, forecaster at MeteoGroup, said today was due to begin with a “very wet start for most people” but that temperatures were set to rise.

“Despite all the rain it will be a much milder day than we’ve seen recently,” he said.

“Across the country we could see anything between 10C and 13C as a maximum.

“The worst of the rain today will be across the north and west of Scotland, but elsewhere it will turn much more patchy after mid-morning.”

Looking ahead to New Year he said revellers in England and Wales could expect the rain to ease up on Monday evening.

He said: “On the big evening itself it looks like many parts of England and Wales will have a dry evening by the time it gets to midnight.

“But, in Scotland and for the North it will be windy with heavy showers.”

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