WEATHER watchers have revealed that East Lancashire has officially had its wettest year ever.

But forecasters are now predicting a respite from the persistent rain the region has seen over the past months.

The good news comes as Huncoat weatherman Roy Chetham said he had recorded 1,734mm, or just over 68 inches, of rainfall up until the last few days of 2012.

He said: “It has been a really wet year.

“It rained again for 24 hours on Sunday into Monday so I bet there will be another inch to add onto the total.

“I have had a very busy year, but not as busy as those who have had to clean up after floods.

“The ground is so spongy, it is terrible.

“Nobody has had any proper summer or sunshine to cheer them up, it has just been horrendous.”

Some animals, like ground-nesting birds, had a tough summer as their nests were washed away.

Farmers also had a difficult year as crops failed and animals had to come inside sooner than had been hoped.

But it was not all bad as swans, geese and slugs, which enjoy the wetter conditions, thrived.

Charles Powell, a spokesman for the Met Office, said the next couple of weeks should give everything a chance to dry out.

He said: “There will be a few showers as we head into New Year’s day, but then it will be much drier.

“However, there will still be a bit of a breeze around.

“Into tomorrow (Wed), there will be a cloudy start and a bit of rain, which will probably be quite persistent in the morning, but it should not amount to anything too grand compared to what we have seen.

“From Thursday, we have some high pressure coming in and that will bring much drier and more settled weather, although there will not be much sunshine.

“There maybe some rain, but the high pressure will last for at least a week or so.

“There has been a lot of rain recently, but we will have a bit of respite and it will be quite mild too.”

Mr Powell said that looking further ahead into next week, the weather was expected to stay dry and mild.